Hidden Figures


I wanted to see Hidden Figures at the theaters, but never managed to work it out, so I was glad to catch it on HBO eventually. I knew the movie would have a lot of appeal for me since it is about the space race, history, technology, engineering, and overcoming race and sex barriers. Still, the movie starts a little slowly as it sets up the three main characters, talented black women working at NASA in the late 1950s and early 1960s as the United States is playing catch up to the Soviet Union's accomplishments. The three women are based on actual people at NASA while many of the other parts are amalgams of different people. The movie takes some liberties with events involving segregation and kind of everything, but they generally get the flavor of the times right. The system and the rules of the time are portrayed as the bad guys instead of racist co-workers, though the co-workers are often complicit, which seems about right.

There are a number of moments where I feel like the audience was supposed to stand up and cheer some moment of progress or overcoming some obstacle, which is part of the appeal of the movie as well as making the movie seem maybe a little too positive and triumphant. If they weren't getting some very good performances from the actors, it might not work, but the movie sets things up well and the focus is not just on the story of success for these women, but also for NASA and the country. Anyway, I enjoyed just about all of it, so I am giving it an A. Afterwards, it is good to read up on the movie and see where they changed things around to give the movie a little more zip. Because these women did exist and did succeed at NASA, the real story just makes the movie that much better.