You guys may notice things look a little different both in theme and the format of this review! I’m trying to change things up and update it for 2017! New Year, New Chelsea Loves Movies, yeah?
Be sure to give me feedback about the new look!
Hidden Figures (2017)
- Directed By Theodore Melfi
- Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Kostner
- Written By Allison Schroeder
- Rated PG
- 127 mins.
- Released 6 January 2017
Hidden Figures tells the untold true story of NASA’s black female computers – advanced mathematicians – who were a vital part of America’s first space flight that put a man into orbit.
How’s The Story?
I absolutely love this story. For someone who is very interested in
erased forgotten women in history, for someone who loves space and space travel, and for someone who is very invested in diversity in fiction, this is almost the perfect story. It tells a common story in women being left out of history, it tells a common story of people of color being left out of history, and though it isn’t as important, it is set into the the historical context of John Glenn’s space flight, and these are all things that I think all people need to see when it comes to film.
How’s the Acting?
It’s pretty standard for the most part, but that isn’t to say it’s bad at all. This is one of those movies where it doesn’t have to be incredibly well acted because the STORY is the real gift in this one. I’d say by far the best one is Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson. She’s definitely the standout of this movie. Kevin Kostner as Al Harrison is pretty good, too. The other main characters were all pretty much just standard. They weren’t bad actors but they weren’t incredibly in depth either. They all delivered a good enough performance for their characters. Octavia Spencer was basically just Octavia Spencer, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Janelle Monae was alright, but again, nothing very special. I’d say Kirsten Dunst was a little better than those two, but again, it was just a solid performance. Jim Parsons as Paul Stafford was a little iffy but it wasn’t bad.
But remember, this isn’t a bad thing. In this movie, the story really carries the actors more than the actors carry the story, which isn’t really easy to do, honestly.
How’s The Directing?
I’m not familiar with Theodore Melfi at all, which probably means he did a good job with this movie. I do think that there are some scenes that are a little contrived and it’s definitely a matter of direction, but again, like with the acting, this movie is one where the story drives the film more than the direction and acting. It would’ve been difficult to poorly direct this story, I would say. That said, it would be very possible, so he did a good enough job for my tastes.
How’s the Cinematography?
There aren’t a lot of cinematographic things about this film that stand out. It’s not a very ‘artsy’ film, so it’s a pretty standard level of artistry in the cinematography. There aren’t any shots that really stand out, but that also means there aren’t any shots that are bad. There’s definitely nothing missing in the cinematography of this film, but there’s nothing extra there either.
Is It Worth Watching?
YES! I loved this movie so much, and not only that, but it’s one of only two films ever that I attended a showing at the cinema and the audience clapped at the end of it. The other was The Force Awakens, in a packed house of Star Wars fans, and not a single other film. Where I live, that isn’t a thing. I’ve seen people talk about that (mostly in Europe) before, but that was only the second time I had witnessed the audience applauding.
This movie conveyed the frustration and the pain that comes with sexism and most importantly racism in such a perfect way. It wasn’t over the top, it didn’t drive home the normal ‘violent’ racism that most films do (violent not as in physical violence but in hate-speech and blatant rage and such) as much as it did the subtle racism that still exists today that people don’t think is actually racism. There’s a perfect moment where Kirsten Dunst’s character says to Octavia Spencer’s character, “I really don’t have any problem with y’all” and Octavia Spencer’s character says to her, “I know you think that’s true” and in that moment I saw my entire childhood in one exchange.
Growing up in the rural south in the 90s and early 2000s, the ‘I hate *insert slur here*’ wasn’t really a thing anymore. It’s the, “I’m not racist, but-” type of thing, and I love that this film really highlights that. Very few characters are violently racist in this film, they’re all conveying a belittlement and ‘otherness’ in their tone and their phrasing of certain things, and I feel like that’s something you almost never see in film. Movies often go big in their depictions of racism, which isn’t a bad thing, but you almost never get to see something as subtle and nuanced as those smaller parts of racism that are dismissed as “I’m not a racist, but-” things.
I saw this movie on my birthday, January 9th, and it was one of the things that made this year’s birthday the best birthday I’ve had in years. It’s the first movie I’ve gone to see of 2017, and if this movie tells anything about the upcoming film year, I’m very excited. I cannot recommend this movie enough and I’ll be very disappointed if you guys don’t go see it while it’s in cinemas.
My Rating: 8/10