Hidden Figures (DVD)

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Hidden Figures (DVD)

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Review of "Hidden Figures (DVD)"

published 26/09/2017 | Candyperfumegirl
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Good
Pro Interesting.
Cons Kevin costner character.
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"Hidden Figures revealed"

Hidden Figures (DVD)

Hidden Figures (DVD)

The novel 'Hidden Figures' by Margot Shetterey has been on my list for quite sometime, I do love to read but unfortunately just don't have the time to do it as often as I would like. So, when a friend offered to lend me the DVD of the 2016 motion picture based on the book I decided to give that a go, sure I knew that the book was guaranteed to do be better but I really was intrigued to learn about the lives of these three woman and so the movie it was.

Plot

Hidden Figures is based on true events which took place in America during 1962 at a time when racial segregation was enforced. African Americans were treated like second class citizens, having their own 'coloured' sections in restaurants and on the bus. Of course this was also the era of the Space Race and America was coming second place to the USSR. Hidden Figures tells the story of three African American women who worked for NASA during this time and were instrumental in launching astronaut John Glenn into space. Yet, there achievements have been largely hidden from the history books.

The film centres around three women Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) all African American females working in NASA, a white male dominated environment. These woman were highly intelligent capable women who moved up the ranks with sheer strength and determination, at a time when women - particularly black women - were still seen as inferior and therefore incapable of moving up the career ladder.

The film explores how these women had fight for the roles and jobs they wanted, a constant up hill battle, they were disregarded simply because of their gender and the colour of their skin. Although the film follows three women, particular attention is paid to Katherine, who's outstanding mathematical talent leads to a promotion where she must work in a male dominated environment. She must also deal with the casual racism and racial segregation, unable to use the white people toilets or drink her coffee from the same kettle. At home Katherine has three small daughters whom she must provide for now that she is a widower.
My Thoughts

Films like this are rarely made. Its not often we will see females taking on lead roles, we don't often here stories about women and this is more true when it comes to African American women. Men dominate the big screen just as much as they dominate the history books. I think its unfortunate that girls are growing up in a world were women are largely left out of the text books, surly learning about women such as Katherine, Dorothy and Mary could inspire a generation of young females to pursue careers in the world of maths and science. These are important stories to tell.

The three female leads are outstanding in their roles, these are strong likable women and I found myself really rooting for them and feeling their frustration. These resilient women are fully aware of their own self worth and set out to change their lives for the better. I liked how the film portrays African Americans and their communities, there is one particularly touching scene of Katherine's first kiss with her boyfriend. In films black men are not always portrayed in a positive way, but here the males are shown to be loving husbands who support their wives and believe in their talents. We see the strength of families and the coming together of a community.

The racism explored in the film is interesting, no one is really outwardly racist, no one threatens these women, uses the N word or outwardly tells them that they have no right to be there, but it is often implied. On her first day Katherine uses the kettle - the only kettle there - the next day another kettle arrives labelled 'Coloureds', its a difficult scene to watch. Likewise, Dorothy's boss (Kirsten Dunst) constantly dismisses her attempts to get a pay raise for taking on the responsibilities of a manger, shes pretty much told to just get on with it and made to feel disposable.

One of the running themes in the film is the segregation of the toilets. Katherine cannot use the whites toilets and so she must dash over to another campus building to relieve herself. It isn't long before Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) notices Katherine's long disappearances and broaches the subject with her. Katherine stand up tall and tells him how it is, full of frustration she explains that she cannot use the same toilet as the whites, in fact she cannot even use the same kettle. Al Harrison seems aghast at this news, which left me a little confused, have these facts really passed this guy by? Had he been living under some sort of rock? Harrison must have been a pretty intelligent man to have gotten to such a high position in NASA, yet he had no idea of the racial inequalities going on all around him. In the scenes that follow we see Harrison literally knocking the race signs down of the toilets thus making NASA a non racially segregated work place, its all very dramatic. Viewers were delighted with these scenes, I on the other hand, was left feeling uncomfortable. We already had three hero's in the film, but apparently it needed another in the form of a white male - a white Savior if you will. Of course, in real life this never took place, no big boss is NASA ran around the building bashing down racist signs. In fact, when Katherine was asked about the use of coloured bathrooms in NASA she stated 'I just went on in the white one.' Of course this wouldn't have produced such a dramatic scene as the one we have here, but personally I think it would have made a more defying one.
Final Thoughts

There is no denying that this was an important story to tell and I do hope that we begin hearing more stories from more fascinating women, Katherine, Dorothy and Mary were truly inspirational women therefore I hope this film reaches the young women of our time. I did enjoy watching it, however it did feel a little whitewashed in places. For me, I felt having a white male swoop in to save the damsels in distress was problematic - but then I guess the director felt these scenes were needed to uplift the film and give it a 'feel good' vibe.

☆ I have no idea why the title of my review is not showing, how frustrating is that :/

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 15/10/2017
    vh :o)
  • siberian-queen published 09/10/2017
    great
  • IzzyS published 01/10/2017
    Good review.
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Product Information : Hidden Figures (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Costner, Kevin

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s): Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst

Video Category: Feature Film

Director(s): Theodore Melfi

EAN: 5039036080170

Classification: Parental Guidance

Production Year: 2017

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Listed on Ciao since: 02/08/2017