By Ian Morton
Hidden Figures is one of the surprise hits of the Oscar season with a great little story, solid direction and impressive performances from the lead cast.
Based on true events, the story follows the vital role 3 female African-American mathematicians had within NASA during the 1960’s ‘space race’.
With relatively little experience behind the camera, director Theodore Melfi has done a great job bringing a humble story to the big screen. With a keen sense of pacing and impressive understanding of the characters, Melfi does a great job giving you protagonists that you can both empathise and route for throughout.
While the beginning seemingly sets the audience up for a single plot line, the story takes a somewhat different stance as it follows the 3 women through their careers. Although many have tried and failed this approach in the past (The Accountant last year for example), it works here simply due to a simple story structure and interesting character dynamics.
Although this structure often results in at least one underdeveloped plot line, Hidden Figures manages to keep you interested in all of them by focusing on specific themes. While each of the women face similar barriers prominent at the time (ie racism, sexism etc), each are portrayed within different circumstances. This clever approach not only gives you 3 independent storylines, it also keeps the audience engaged and above all, entertained.
As to be expected in this type of film, the success is driven purely on the strength of the performances. Taraji P. Henson is fantastic in the lead role while impressively supported by Janelle Monáe and the recently Oscar nominated Octavia Spencer. Topped off with an entertaining turn by Kevin Costner and the finished product easily gives you something you will be happy to recommend to a friend.
Strong in all areas, Hidden Figures manages to tell a balanced, character driven story about 3 genius women in a time of adversity. 4 out of 5 stars.