Hidden Figures

In Brief: Hidden Figures is packed with not-so-hidden acting and historical treasures.

Hidden Figures tracks the lives of three African American women in the early 1960s who worked for NASA. It is packed with hidden treasures ranging from warm, intelligent performances to a brilliant script and actor’s lines to the unveiling of historical facts few of us know.

Co-written and directed by St. Vincent’s Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures — best of all — is awe-inspiring positive. The three women were critical to the success of the space race and the movie follows their lives from the Soviet Union’s Yuri Garagin’s first trip into space to John Glenn’s Friendship 7 orbits of the Earth a few years later.

At the end, you learn how what happened to them here led to even more interesting careers.

The raves about the movie and the performances are not overblown. TV’s Empire star Taraji P. Henson is Katherine Johnson, math whiz. She is the film’s focus and it’s Johnson’s work — says the movie — that got Glenn and his fellow astronauts safely into space and back.

Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) does leader extraordinaire and computer expert, Dorothy Vaughn. Moonlight Golden Globe nominee and singer Janelle Monae is Mary Jackson, an engineer assistant encouraged to get a degree by her white colleagues.

Kevin Costner and Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons are lots of fun as Johnson’s bosses. Also notable is Kirsten Dunst’s work as Vaughn’s supervisor.

It’s sad that only Spencer’s performance is noted by Golden Globe nominations. Hensen, Monae and Costner — especially — gave much better supporting performances than many of those nominated.

Last, you have to wonder if Glenn — who is a major focus of the film — got to see the movie before he died. He would have loved it.

And so will you. Don’t miss this one.

Director: Theodore Melfi

Stars: Taraji P. Hensen, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. This one is incredibly positive and will have you grinning ear-to-ear from the opening scenes to the rolling of the credits and the info of the fate of the film’s real-life subjects.

Click here for showtimes and theaters.

5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.

Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.

Got a movie suggestion or comment? Email him!

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