It seems like now, more than ever, cinema is producing the most films based on true racial stories of the past. Hidden Figures does this as well, but in a way that nobody has seen on screen yet, which is saying something. From not knowing this film was coming out, to watching a couple trailers that peaked my interest, to hearing that it's being considered for many categories at the #Oscars, it was a film that very quickly became a priority to see. After seeing Hidden Figures, I can't recommend this film enough. Not just to people who can relate with particular situations presented throughout this film, but it's a reminder of how far we've come as a society, as well as an important story about Nasa that many people (including myself) may not have known.
More Than Inspirational
There are very few people out there today that are aware of the story that Hidden Figures presents. I could be wrong, but so many people talk about the first moon landing and the discovery and loss of new planets, stories like these easily become forgotten. That is a very sad notion, because this is one of the most powerful films of 2016 in my opinion. The first three African-American women to work for Nasa, also end up becoming the biggest need in putting the first man into space. That is essentially the basic premise of Hidden Figures, and while that may seem like a story better told in a classroom, this may just be the most important film that has been displayed on the big screen in quite some time.
Casting Three Incredible Leading Ladies
When it comes to telling a story like this, you don't want to come off preachy, offending some viewers along the way. It is impeccable that the direction is handled with care and casting the right people to relay the important messages is just as key. Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson, and Octavia Spencer are all superb in their respective roles here, along with some surprisingly good scenes with Jim Parsons and Kevin Costner. In my opinion, Taraji P. Henson stole the show in setting the diminish of the border between races in motion. All three of them have their moments to shine, but there is something about Henson's performance that stood out the most to me.
A Few Sluggish Instances
All in all, I didn't find myself complaining about too much when the film concluded, but I did look back and think that a few scenes could have been cut or trimmed down to shave off about 10-15 minutes. The first act is just as enjoyable as the rest of the film, but it admittedly takes its time to get moving. That being said, once it gets moving, it doesn't let up until the credits roll. The direction by Theodore Melfi was very sincere, hitting every right beat for the story at hand. I found myself applauding inside, each and every time a character was able to further their dreams. St. Vincent was a fantastic first feature film from Melfi and after seeing Hidden Figures, I can't wait to see what he comes up with next. He truly makes any dull moment bearable in this otherwise superb picture.
My Overall Thoughts
In the end, Hidden Figures makes more than one powerful statement throughout its 127 minute duration, each as impactful as the last. This film is all about making a statement, but the editing, pacing, performances, and dialogue written impeccably by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi was riveting. The first act is slightly too slow, but I was on the edge of my seat during the second and third. When you tell a true story, without making anything seem farfetched or stretched (which I am sure this film did in some capacity), you know you have made a quality film. You should be expecting this film to get quite a few awards nods and deservedly so. Hidden Figures may have a few minor issues here and there, but it's still one of my favourites from 2016.