Sunday, 5 March 2017

Film No. 12 (2017) Hidden Figures February 19th.

Film No. 12 (2017) February 19th 10.30 AM ACE Cinemas Rockingham.

"Three negro women are chasing a police officer down the highway in 1961, that is a god ordained miracle" (Dorothy shouts to her two colleagues as they speed to their work-place under police escort).

Hidden Figures is an old fashioned film depicting old fashioned values, using old fashioned techniques with a solid old fashioned ending. In no way should my previous sentence be construed as a blight on the film because it is a delightfully produced 115 minutes of quality entertainment. Given its pure Hollywood pedigree it was fitting Hidden Figures should receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Katherine Johnson (Taraji Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monroe) all had brilliant careers as NASA employees beginning in the early sixties. So what? you may well ask. What makes their story worth telling? Well, being ambitious black African women in the U.S. during the sixties definitely wasn't a prerequisite for success. Hidden Figures tells the story of three such women who reached the pinnacles of their professions despite the adversity they encountered because of their skin colour.

The film begins with our key characters on the side of the road, with car problems. They are already employees of NASA thus we are not privy to how they won their jobs in the nation's prestigious space agency; stories worth telling in themselves. Katherine gains most focus as the maths genius who has John Glenn indicating he'll only trust her calculations if he is to succeed in returning to earth. 

Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) returns to his cool, controlled roots as he singlehandedly beats down the barriers Katherine faces as a minority in the NASA work place. Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell  gradually softens her prejudices as Dorothy earns her stripes by displaying her computing smarts. Put simply, there are no surprises in the story but there is in the unveiling of three heroes, whos stories have rarely been heard. Disney would be proud to call Hidden Figures one of theirs.  9GUMS.

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