Hidden Figures 2016 Spoiler Free Movie Review

Hidden Figures [2016] follows three brilliant African-American women and the trials they encounter whilst working at NASA. This story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) recounts how the trio overcame barriers that were raised by their race and gender to play integral roles in the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and turned around the Space Race.

Break the Glass Ceiling. The story is based on the real-life work of these incredible women. The United States is behind Russia in the two-man Space Race and all hands are on deck to send the first American into space. NASA employs women – both white and colored – to work as mathematical ‘computers,’ but are seldom in positions of power. All three women are incredible at their jobs, and when they are given assignments where they are able to finally showcase their talents, they excel and gain the respect of their colleagues.

Kick-Ass Women. Taraji P. Henson does an outstanding job in the role of mathematical genius, Katherine. Her performance is evocative and you are unable to resist becoming invested in her success, and genuinely feel every disappointment with her as she hits another road block. Dorothy is doing the work of a supervisor but not getting the recognition or pay associated with the role. Octavia Spencer is such a motherly figure and is maybe typecast into this role. However, this makes her performance as Dorothy so familiar and inviting and a real triumph. Janelle Monáe does a fantastic job as the sassy Mary, a woman who fights to be the first not only female but also African-American engineer. She is fun and provides a much needed comedic relief to a story with subject matter which can sometimes be intense.

NASA in the 60’s. Kevin Costner portrays the head of the Space Task Group, Al Harrison, with restraint to ensure Henson is not outshone.  Jim Parsons provides his usual nerdy and slightly awkward routine as the head engineer and Kirstin Dunst as the white supervisor who doesn’t quite grasp her privilege, both of which are frankly forgettable and could be done by just about anyone.

Not Another Coloured Biopic. I went into this movie expecting it to follow the mold of so many which have come before it. Instead, it surprised me. It was fresh and light, despite the context. It didn’t get bogged down in the politics of its time but made sure you were acutely aware of just how difficult it was for these women to not only do their everyday jobs but excel at them. I laughed and I cried. I was on the edge of my seat at times. Director Theodore Melfi along with Allison Schroeder did a remarkable job with the screenplay and not one word is wasted or surplus. The entire film is thoughtful and overall I struggle to find anything wrong with it. Trust the critics, this movie is incredible.


Hidden Figures is an important story about breaking the glass ceiling.
Henson, Spencer, and Monáe provide stellar performances
which drive this film to greatness.