Hidden Figures is based on the real-life stories of three female African-American mathematicians who suffered from racial and sexual prejudice when working for NASA in the early years of the US space program, for which they played a vital role in the race against the Russians. If that makes it sound like a dark and gritty subject, then I’m describing it wrongly- although it can be unsettling and get the blood-pressure rising (I vented at the screen a number of times at the racial prejudice exhibited by some white characters in the film), it is nonetheless a very positive, life-affirming and warm film which serves as a perfect antidote for our times. I haven’t enjoyed a film quite as much as I did this one in quite awhile, and its a wonderful reminder of why I love movies. Sometimes they can just leave you with such a buzz. Priceless in this day and age.
I’m sure there may be technical goofs and factual errors, dashes of artistic license etc but the hell with any of that, sometimes a film is just such wonderful storytelling and drama that I don’t care: this isn’t some stolid documentary, this is a film with heart and soul and passion and some really fine, standout performances from the leads (Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe) with a surprising weighty gravitas from Kevin Costner that reminds what a great screen presence he can be.
Its great, I couldn’t praise it enough. Its funny, informative, emotional, transcendently uplifting and inspirational: absolutely terrific.
Funnily enough (as in funny peculiar rather than funny ha-ha), I watched this from a Network screening on Channel Four which I recorded over the Christmas season, complete with commercial breaks etc. (which I zipped through with some aplomb- like riding a bike, you never forget speedy use of the remote). Watching films this way is something I so rarely do now, as I noted when I caught Deep Impact again several days ago: must be a sure sign that it was Christmas. I remember being curious about Hidden Figures back when I first saw a trailer years ago, I’m not sure why I didn’t buy it when it dropped on disc release as its subject matter (the 1960s space program) is a fascination of mine, but probably it was back when I was trying to rein in my reckless buying of discs, certainly of blind-buying them. The irony that I now have to search out a 4K UHD copy because it turns out I completely fell in love with the darn thing does not escape me.
Anyway, if like me you were negligent in not catching this film earlier, do yourself a favour and give this unapologetically feel-good film a go. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it. In this age of Covid, we sorely need films like this to warm our hearts: consider it an antidote to the lockdown we’ve just been dropped into again.