Hidden Figures is a film about racism and sexism in Pre Civil Rights Act Virginia that wants you to know that it’s a film about racism and sexism in Pre Civil Rights Act Virginia. The film claims to be based on ‘true events’ however after a bit of research, you discover that while the three main women in the film are based on real people, just about every other person in this film didn’t exist in real life.
As a matter of fact, characters such like the ones played by Kristen Dunst and Jim Parsons are created solely to represent certain racist and sexist attitudes that existed during that time but seems to be largely made up for the sake of the movie. That is really my main problem with the film; they spend so much time hammering in the discrimination aspect for the viewer that they miss telling an actually pretty good story on film.
The real-life story of the first African-American women in positions of power at NASA is actually a very intriguing one worthy of the big screen however the writers felt like they can’t go 2 minutes without showing you that you are in Virginia in 1961 and someone needs to act unnecessarily racist just to make the audience gasp. Especially when considering the fact that the real Katherine G. Johnson who is played in the film by Taraji P. Henson said this level of racism didn’t exist when she was there back in the 50s and 60s.
“I didn’t feel the segregation at NASA because everybody there was doing research,” said Johnson. “You had a mission and you worked on it, and it was important to you to do your job…and play bridge at lunch. I didn’t feel any segregation. I knew it was there, but I didn’t feel it.”
Another thing that really bugged me physically was the film had a tendency to be out of focus in certain scenes throughout the movie. Like the actors were standing behind a green screen for most of the movie and it was too jarring to ignore (especially when your eyes hurt watching). Despite the hoky writing, I did like the overall story of these women and the impact that they had on history. I only wish they put more focus on the story these women had to tell instead of taking liberties with the time period.
I guess my recommendation would be to look into the true story of the impact Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson had as is truly an inspiring one. As far as the film goes, good intentions do not equal a good movie. And For the love of God, fix the focus, you got 25 million dollars, it isn’t that hard.