Hidden Figures Review


Nowadays, we need inspirational stories more than ever and the more 2016 goes on, the less we hear of inspiring stories. Then there are stories which are never heard of until decades after these events happened. Hidden Figures is one of those stories. Does Hidden Figures fill that inspirational hole or is it another run-of-the-mill biopic?

Fortunately, backed by its amazing cast, Hidden Figures is an inspirational story, not just for people of color but for women as well.

Hidden Figures follows the lives of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson as they work as the unsung heroes behind one of the greatest NASA operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.


At a time where misogyny and racism are at the forefront, Melfi’s Hidden Figures comes at a time where we need an inspirational feel-good film about overcoming these obstacles. It’s only fitting that a film revolved primarily around math that the film feels formulaic and a highly predictable. Yet the absence of innovation can easily be forgiven due to Melfi and Allison Schroeder’s smart script. Figures properly weave the storylines of the three central figures of the film. As the film goes through Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson’s journey, the film never loses focus and never kills the flow of the film. It hits all the right notes.

However, the film tends to run a little long and can be boring for those not interested in the subject matter. There are also scenes of Henson running to the bathroom that occasionally peppered into the film that also seems to elongate the length of the film. I get the meaning and significance around it but seeing these scenes repeatedly throughout the film gets a bit old after a while. It’s a minor gripe but it should be noted. Should our friends at Honest Trailers ever cover Hidden Figures, I think this could have a big part of it.


Although the film focuses on the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, the film belongs to Taraji P. Henson. Henson gives a very subtle but powerful performance as Katherine Johnson. She’s able to show her pain through her facial expressions and although it’s a bit nuanced, it speaks a thousand words. Janelle Monae also kills it as Mary Jackson. Jackson’s story is just as powerful as Johnson’s and Monae provide a wide spectrum of emotions for her character. Not bad for a rookie actor. Lastly, Octavia Spencer gives a good and sassy performance as Dorothy Vaughan.

Kevin Costner plays himself as Al Harrison but he’s incredibly likable in the role. Mahershala Ali and Glen Powell have small roles in the film but gives a lasting impression as Jim Johnson and the late John Glenn. Their charisma definitely shows on-screen. Jim Parsons plays a much more subdued character than his “Big Bang Theory” character but he does very little to distance himself from that character. Kirsten Dunst has a small role in the film and isn’t particularly impressive in the role.

Overall, Hidden Figures is an inspirational look at the unknown stories of NASA’s unsung heroes. Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson went through extraordinary obstacles to achieve the things that they did. In a time when we need happy and inspirational stories, Hidden Figures has come at the right time.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms
NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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