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VUE REVIEWS: Hidden Figures – poignant, hilarious and best shared with others

You’ll be scratching your head as to why you’ve never heard this remarkable true story before.

By Emma Thrower.

“Three negro women are chasing a white police officer down the highway in 1961. That is a God-ordained miracle.” Why? Because five minutes earlier, Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) had been asked for identification as they tried to restart their car on the side of a Virginia road.
These women are game-changers of the highest order.
Hidden Figures – poignant, hilarious and best shared with others
The reason the officer is so keen to speed the trio to their chosen destination isn’t down to their damsel in distress status (Dorothy is quite capable of fixing the engine herself, thank you very much), but because they work for NASA. And, as timing would have it, America is in the midst of a highly competitive space race after Russia successfully launched satellite Sputnik 1 into orbit. The next step? Firing an astronaut into the sky. But NASA can’t do this without the help of their “computers”: a group of thirty or so black women doing math by hand in the West Area Computing division – a completely segregated building.

So, when Vivian Mitchell (an uncharacteristically dour Kirsten Dunst) treks over to West Area Computing to recruit someone capable of advanced analytic geometry for the Flight Research Division, she finds herself introduced to Katherine; a girl whose intelligence as a youngster puts Roald Dahl’s Matilda to shame. But the mathematical genius’ new position comes with a whole lot of problems besides calculating flight trajectories from piles of redacted papers. (Did we mention the nearest “coloured bathroom” is half a mile away?)
It begs to be seen on the big screen...Whether cheering on Kevin Costner as he knocks down a “coloured bathroom” sign or weeping at Taraji P. Henson’s awards-worthy speeches, it’s a story that needs to be shared with others.
Hidden Figures – poignant, hilarious and best shared with others

Director Theodore Melfi had a big task on his hands, yet he somehow makes this Oscar-nominated film hilarious and poignant. It’s his cast that truly sets the film apart: the overriding, infectious theme of sisterhood binding both characters – and audience – together. We all have that friend who loves to matchmake (Mary, a scene-stealing Janelle Monáe), the one who’s handy in a crisis (Dorothy) and the one who’s smarter than the rest (Katherine). But to pigeonhole these characters would be to undervalue them by infinitely more than the 76 miles NASA say it takes to get into space. These women are game-changers of the highest order, and, amidst the anger you’ll feel at the daily injustices they faced (The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons portrays a whole new level of umbrage on being paired with Katherine), you’ll be scratching your head as to why you’ve never heard this remarkable true story before.

Hidden Figures begs to be seen on the big screen for so much more than just its epic space shuttle moments and catchy Pharrell soundtrack. Whether cheering on Flight Research Division director Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) as he knocks down a “coloured bathroom” sign or weeping at Taraji P. Henson’s impassioned, awards-worthy speeches, it’s a story that needs to be shared with others. You’ll laugh, cry, and get angry with everyone sitting around you – and then you’ll want to applaud throughout the credits of this politically pertinent biopic.

Get times and tickets for Hidden Figures here.