Whether due to a genuine changing of the wind or a short-term backlash against last year’s “Oscars-so-white” controversy, this year’s award season saw several outstanding nominated films with black leads, telling poignant stories about black lives. ‘Hidden Figures’ is a brilliant example.
Set in segregation-era Virginia, ‘Hidden Figures’ tells the story of the black women whose contributions to America’s success in the space race have, until recently, been largely overlooked.
This is a delightful ensemble piece with outstanding casting across the board. Taraji P Henson shines as Katherine Goble, bringing a wonderful breadth of emotion to the role, and while the story focuses predominantly on her, equal praise is due to Octavia Spencer as the stoic Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as the fiery Mary Jackson. Their portrayals of these strong, brilliant women are the beating heart of the film.
The film’s Hollywood gloss does not detract from its portrayal of the endemic racism and sexism of the time, but despite this the film remains truly uplifting. The story doesn’t shy away from the injustice and humiliation of segregation, but its focus is the characters’ triumph over them.
Charming, heartwarming and inspirational; do not let ‘Hidden Figures’ pass you by.