Movie Review of Hidden Figures, a story of acceptance of African-American female mathematicians at NASA
– Spoiler Alert! –
Before watching The Great Wall last Saturday, I watched Hidden Figures. It was a great movie. I didn’t give it a 10/10 though, because it didn’t make me cry 🙂 .
Hidden Figures is the story about three African-American mathematician females, Katherine G. Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monae), in the early 1960’s, working for NASA. It is about their struggle to be accepted into the mainly white male society there. I was surprised they actually had coloured women working there at all in those days, but apparently NASA wasn’t interested in the race war, just the space race. The story is based on true events and the end of the movie shows you the original characters the story is based upon. However, according to Wikipedia, the individual accounts of the three ladies did not happen in the same time frame. This doesn’t matter for the movie though, which drives home what happened, not when.
Especially with what is happening in the US at the moment, I think the timing is just right. Although there is never a ‘good’ time to show people that discrimination is wrong and that the community doesn’t benefit from it; the best time for that is perpetual. I don’t know if it’s the ‘Hollywood-isation’ that turned this movie into a semi-funny and romantic one. I think it should have been a lot harder, more realistic, depicting the real feel of discrimination of being coloured and female.
I wasn’t born at that time yet, I don’t live in America, and I’m not an African-American, so I can’t compare the movie to what it was like to be an African-American female in an all white male society in those days. I also haven’t read the book (by Margot Lee Shetterly), so I even don’t know if the story in the book is harsher than the movie. My guess is that reality was a lot harder than the film portrays. I had a girlfriend at university who became a nuclear physicist. She quit her job as she was not tolerated as a woman in an all male world and the continuous struggle was just too much for her. She wasn’t coloured, it wasn’t 1960, and it wasn’t in a southern state of the US. This happened to a white girl in 1989 in Australia.
Cinematography wise I liked the movie. It drew me in, the flow was good, and the music was matching to the scenes. But like I said, I would have liked to have seen more ‘intimate’ moments, more emphasis on the feeling that comes with constant rejection. The fact that these women persisted and didn’t take no for an answer is awe inspiring.
I had brought my daughter with me to see the movie. She has a physics level of 140 (compared to the 100 average level). She was sitting at the edge of her seat for most of the movie and was very inspired by it. The movie did what it had to do 🙂 .
So yes, I liked the movie and what it stands for (hence the high score), but no, I didn’t like it being all lovey-dovey and they all lived happily ever after, because that’s not the truth. Even in this day and age, a lot still needs to change. Hopefully, with more movies like these, there will be equality for all one day.