Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hidden Figures: Monday, January 16 2017

At last, a film I love! I was just on the point of considering giving up going to the movies, when along comes Hidden Figures.

This film is based on the non-fiction book of the same name, by Margot Lee Shetterly. It tells the story of three American women who were involved in the Space Race, and whose mathematical calculations helped put the first men on the moon.

Directed by Theodore Melfi, the pace throughout is perfect. No problem for me in staying awake. The screenplay, written by Melfi and Allison Shroeder, hits all the correct notes, at all the correct times. The cinematography, by Australian Mandy Walker, is excellent, and helps make the film such a delight to watch. The acting was a pleasure. Each of the three actresses is so full of character, they are women I felt I would have loved if I had known them in person.

Taraji P. Henson plays Katherine Goble Johnson, the mathematician who calculated the equations needed to have John Glen orbit the earth. Taraji is one of my most favourite actors, and not only because she was born on September 11, also my daughter's birthday. I particularly enjoyed her role as Detective Jocelyn Carter in the TV series, Person of Interest, for which she won an NAACP Image Award. I felt bereaved when she was killed off in the series. She plays Katherine Goble Johnson in Hidden Figures to perfection. Her interaction with Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, the director of the Space Task Group, is a delight to watch. In 2016, the Langley Research Center was renamed the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility.

Octavia Spenser is another of my favourite actors. You may remember her as Minny Jackson in The Help, and may have seen her in other roles, including as Constance Grady in Ugly Betty. As Dorothy Vaughan in Hidden Figures, she completely won my empathy, never mind sympathy. I was delighted for her when finally she was made Supervisor of the Programming Department.

Janelle Monae plays Mary Jackson, an engineer. This was my first exposure to Monae, and I hope it will be the first of many. She began her career as a songwriter and singer, and she certainly has rhythm. I enjoyed her performance as Mary Jackson, and could believe that she had enough drive and courage to become NASA's first black female engineer. Here is star quality. She ought to go far in the entertainment world.

This is my kind of movie. The main characters were three women to whom I could relate: strong, dynamic personalities, who knew what they wanted, and went out and achieved their goals. These are my kind of women. No one could stop them, as they pushed through barriers, and leapt over any hurdles that blocked their way. At a time when it was almost impossible for any women to obtain a professional education, they just did it. I admire them greatly for that.

I also admire the three women actors who took these parts. They, too, have surmounted many barriers to achieve success in their careers. I feel great pleasure as a woman, in observing their success, and cheering them on. As I watched this movie, I found myself relating to all six women as women. They are role models for other strong women. Just do it, and do it your way! I would give an Oscar to each of these actresses, simply because I so enjoyed their performances. The Oscars, in my opinion, ought to go to all the other disciplines involved in making this Hidden Figures. I LOVED this film! It left me feeling inspired, and with a good feeling about human beings. Is there any better reason for giving Awards!

I would recommend this film to everyone, and anyone. It's the stuff of which all the old mythologies were made. Hero figures, overcoming obstacles to achieve impossible dreams: highly inspirational and motivational. Athena protecting ancient Greek Athens, by war if necessary; Bastet fighting alongside the ancient Egyptian god, Ra, to overcome the dark forces of night to bring back the bright light of day; Minerva, Roman goddess of war, making Rome great, and also goddess of wisdom and magic. No sitting back here, with a hand out, waiting for others to do it for them. No weak characters, shirking responsibility; no bullying of those around them, making life miserable for other people involved with them; no gratuitous violence or sex simply for effect. Just vision, courage, and the drive to make things happen. Fantastic!

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