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Hidden Figures - Film Review

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by Marina Marangos (subscribe)
Published February 24th 2017
Hidden no more
There are lots of good films out at the moment - maybe it is just that Oscar time of year, though I have to say it is not every year that they are so rewarding and plentiful.

Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures

You might need to make a choice, if time is limited, and one I would warmly recommend is "Hidden Figures". The story is about three African American women who are whizzes with numbers, mathematical algorithms and geometrical formulas. I am deeply in awe of anyone who has a mind like that. This is a story based on true events which makes it, of course, even more meaningful. The three women work for the Space Programme NASA and they all face challenges which are based on their sex and colour.

The film takes place in 1961 - and it does this very well. The cars, the hairstyles, the shoes, everything is screaming 1961. Everyone of a certain age will remember the importance of the Space Programme. We all remember the race against the Russian programme, the problems faced by both, as sometimes the efforts ended in disasters and the excitement of sending people and dogs into space successfully.

The film captures all these sentiments beautifully but also has the most relevant and important script to accompany the story, exposing the injustices perpetrated on African Americans, the terrible consequences of segregation and the problems faced by women of colour to achieve any status. It is also amusing and heartening in its humanity. The working woman facing challenges of bringing up children on her own, working long hours, not being rewarded financially for the work and the list goes on.

The film i s directed by Ted Melfi and I would love to see it win awards at the Oscars. The three women actors are Taraji H Johnson playing the wonderfully gifted Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer playing the solid and dependable Dorothy Vaughn and Janelle Monae who plays Mary Jackson, fighting for her right to attend courses for engineering ( the privilege of white men it was thought) at a white college. Kevin Costner as the gum chewing and troubled head of the mission is very good and comes across as a thoughtful but frustrated boss. He wants his programme to be the best ... and he soon realises the importance of the women on whom he has come to rely. There is a telling notice on the wall of the room they work in which labelled them as "coloured computers."

The women did all the calculations, verified the details and worked long hours. This was the time when the new IBM main frame machines were being introduced which would eventually be faster than the work the women could do, but their role was invaluable and important. This is one of these films that connects everyone to decent human values, the appreciation of talent and the desire to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

Go and see it - it is one which will leave you feeling as if progress has rightfully been made in the world. Let's all make sure we help the process move forward in the right direction.
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When: Currently being shown in Australia
Your Comment
Easily the best movie I've seen in a long time, Marina!
by maria (score: 1|91) 1674 days ago
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