Hidden Figures

A scene in Hidden Figures. (AP)
A scene in Hidden Figures. (AP)

What it's about:

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson are brilliant African-American women working at NASA. They serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history—the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that will restore America’s confidence, turn the Space Race around, and inspire the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

What we thought:

If you asked me a few weeks ago who I think should win Best Picture at the Oscars I would have said La La Land in a blink of an eye.

After seeing Hidden Figures though I'm singing a very different tune. 

It's a simple recipe; it's based on true life events that really don’t reinvent the genre, but the strength of this film lies in how the story is told and the phenomenal acting by the three lead black females. 

Adding to the film's mounting credits is its box office success to date: it is the highest grossing best picture nomination of the year. 

That in itself is a small victory for the diversity issue in Hollywood. And if there’s one thing that's very clear, it is that a film lead by three black females can draw crowds and make money. 

Based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly it tells the story of three pioneering women; mathematicians Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson),Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) who worked for NASA in Virginia in the 1960s.

The film is centred on the space race between the US and Russia but in all honesty it takes a backseat to the trials, tribulations and triumphs of these three women.

What I enjoyed most about the plot is that the spotlight wasn't on just one character; each woman's story got equal airtime, letting each character and actress shine. 
It was great to see Henson shake off Cookie for a while, Spencer portrayed Dorothy with grit and resilience and Monae was the stand out, in her first major role she holds her own. 

Together the trio's chemistry and the bond of sisterhood is a powerful force. 

While the film might be set in the 1960s the themes explored are still relevant and relatable today especially women's fight/place in the workforce.

A lot may have changed but we are still constantly reaching the ceiling or the goalposts are moved. 

The film had a profound effect on me – it inspired, empowered and even elicited civil activism. 

Hidden Figures is a definite must-see and  has all the winning elements worthy of a Best Picture – it has heart, phenomenal acting, an unforgettable story and above all food for the soul. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24