It is not surprising that ‘Hidden Figures’ has been the Number One movie for the past two weeks, and is 2017’s first big box office hit. This movie tells three beautiful stories that make you feel good. Add to that three outstanding performances and really, it’s a surefire formula for success.
Taraji Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a gifted Mathematecian who played a key role in John Glenn’s flight in space. This was during the time when segregation was still enforced in the state of Virgina, and we see her struggle with it – as she had to walk a mile to go to the colored bathrooms, and as the lone black in her department, was given a small coffee pot so she wouldn’t have to share with the whites. But her boss, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) is progressive so we scenes wherein Harrison singlehandedly jackhammering the colored signs in the bathroom. It makes for good cinema.
Octavia Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan was responsible for having her whole department learn FORTRAN, a system for punch cards for the IBM machine in order for them to stay relevant as they were facing extinction from the calculating machines. Spencer here is more subdued, but just as effective.
I thought the whole film was engrossing from beginning to end, with just the right amount of drama and suspense to keep my at the edge of my seats, even though more or less I knew the outcome to these conflicts. The film is solidly written, solidly directed, and deserves its success.