FILM REVIEW | Hidden Figures

In the spotlight: Taraji P. Henson shines as brilliant mathematician Katherine Goble in Hidden Figures, in cinemas this week and rated PG.

In the spotlight: Taraji P. Henson shines as brilliant mathematician Katherine Goble in Hidden Figures, in cinemas this week and rated PG.

It is an impressive and rare feat to make a film about race relations in 1960s America feel joyous and uplifting.

But that is exactly what the filmmakers behind Hidden Figures have achieved.

There are of course moments of hatred and intolerance that make you feel sick to the stomach and wonder how anyone could have ever been so cold (thoughts that are likely to be mirrored on reflection of recent political moves in the US), but overall it is a story of triumph over adversity.

Hidden Figures follows three incredibly intelligent, driven and kind women as they make their mark on world history as employees of NASA in 1961.

Taraji P. Henson (Empire) plays Katherine Goble, a brilliant mathematician, who is promoted from the ‘coloured computers’ group at the space agency to double-check the numbers of the men tasked with calculating the trajectory needed to allow an astronaut to orbit the Earth.

Her story drives the film, but it is not the only story of note.

Her two great friends Mary Jackson (musician Janelle Monae) and Dorothy Vaughan (Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, The Help) are also trail-blazers.

Mary dreams of becoming an engineer and refuses to let the fact that no African-American woman in the state had ever earned an engineering degree slow down her passion and drive.

Dorothy has her heart set on becoming a supervisor, something no black woman before her had achieved at the space base, and made it her mission to make herself indispensable.

These three women had so many objects in their path to greatness and with perseverance, compassion, humour and smarts they overcame the odds.

The film also includes the talents of Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams), Kirsten Dunst (Midnight Special), Glen Powell (Scream Queens), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton) and Mahershala Ali (Moonlight).

The film is an absolute winner as a race drama, period piece, friendship tale and love story – and producer Pharrell Williams ensures it has a toe-tappingly good soundtrack.

These women are hidden no more.

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