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Hidden Figures Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline. FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest releases in maximum comfort! They will bring delicious food right to your Recline-N-Dine seat!

We’re almost done with 2016 movies, but there are still a few left before we fully make that transition into the new year! Hidden Figures was one that I was kind of looking forward to, but it’s not one I’ve been dying to see. I like the cast, and the story sounds incredibly interesting, but it wasn’t one of my award front-runners coming into the last quarter of the year. Luckily, I had the chance to check it out, so let’s talk about it!

Hidden Figures is directed by Theodore Melfi and stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as three African-American women working for NASA in the early 1960s. They might not be as well-known as John Glenn, but they sure played a key role in making John Glenn a household name.

To start off, this story is so interesting. I always like to see a behind-the-scenes look at the necessary people or necessary things to events that shaped the world today, and I found everything that these ladies did and went through incredibly fascinating. I love that this movie was able to tackle what the main characters went through, and what a lot of people were going through at the time, but still keep it in such a positive and optimistic light. We’ve sure had our share of depressing and stomach-twisting movies recently, but Hidden Figures shows that you can take on a very serious subject matter that faces drama and controversy while also making a feel-good movie with characters who are so much fun to watch. Some of the best scenes are when the characters put their knowledge on display and show that they can hold their own with anybody at NASA. I don’t think many people are big math gurus or even like math a little bit. In fact, it’s a popular candidate for least favorite subject. I was still so enamored watching Taraji P. Henson’s character work out all of the math NASA needed to get John Glenn back to Earth. The movie tells us that the characters are experts, then it shows their expertise, so we always have a full understanding of what they can do! I also thought that all three leads were amazing. Taraji P. Henson might be best known for her role in Empire, but she is definitely going to be on the big screen more after this one. She was so good, and she has an amazing screen presence that completely takes over when she gets to show off her acting chops. I don’t really have to say this, but Octavia Spencer was also amazing. Since she won her Oscar for The Help, it feels like every single scene she is in is one of those scenes they show right as they announce the nominees at awards shows. Janelle Monáe has also impressed me both in this and in Moonlight earlier this year, and when you figure in her music, she might just be one of the most talented people in Hollywood. She steals so many of the scenes with both her one-liners and one monologue that she absolutely kills. I also have to mention Kevin Costner. He’s great in supporting roles, and he had one scene in this movie that really showed who he was as a person and as a boss, and it was one of the best scenes in the entire film.

There were a couple of things I didn’t like about this movie, but most of it boils down to the fact that seeing all of these ladies show off their intelligence and battle for a chance to do so is far more compelling than a lot of the personal scenes the film goes into. I don’t think that the scenes with the characters’ personal lives were bad, and they are definitely where the comedy excels, but they were not as compelling as the scenes where Taraji P. Henson is working out her math or Janelle Monáe is giving a monologue about being the first African-American woman to attend an all-white school so that she can be one of NASA’s best engineers. Next, I think it’s a little bit longer than it needed to be. I wasn’t bored, but some scenes could have been cut, and some lasted longer than they needed to after getting the point across. Finally, I didn’t love Jim Parsons in this film. I don’t think it’s necessarily his fault, but he feels like a woodpecker that continues to peck, and it’s the same thing over and over again without a good payoff to complete the arc.

Overall, I really liked Hidden Figures. I think that this entire cast is fantastic, and the performances and strong characters really drive this fascinating story. There are plenty of stories that need to be told, yet are just uninteresting. Hidden Figures does a great job telling a necessary story while still maintaining the emotional investment and entertainment. I loved all of the scenes where we see exactly why these women are so highly respected by those who knew their story, and I love when we get scenes that put expertise on display the way Hidden Figures does. Maybe my favorite thing about the film is how it tackles the controversy and drama in such a positive, feel-good way. We still feel what we needed to feel, and it has a great impact, but it doesn’t need to go to an extremely dark place to tell us what it wanted to tell us. I’m going to give Hidden Figures an 8/10.

Will you be checking out Hidden Figures? It is released all across America this Friday, so comment down in the comments and let me know! There are so many movies yet to come in 2017 and even a few leftover ones from 2016, so be sure to stay tuned for many more reviews! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

All images courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm