The true definition of a crowd-pleaser, HIDDEN FIGURES delivers a powerful history lesson with passion, excitement, strong dramatic elements and humor.
We meet three female African-American mathematicians in the early 1960's, working hard at NASA and unappreciated for their abilities.
Taraji P. Henson (Person of Interest) plays real-life math genius Katherine Watson. We get glimpses of Katherine as a child, with a very unique and brilliant mind. She's a terrific mother and widower married to her work at NASA.
She shares a ride to work everyday with Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer, "The Help") who strives to be a supervisor but finds the early 60's no place for advancement and young Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae, "The Equalizer") whose tolerance for the blatant racism of the day is at its end.
We meet Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, the NASA senior manager in charge of beating the Russians into space.
The film does a great job weaving the true story of these women and their accomplishments through the over-arching story of America's space race in the early sixties.
President Kennedy has made it clear that the USA must lead the way and NASA is literally inventing the science and math to make that dream a reality.
The recreations of NASA, the launches and the famous people along the way are terrific to watch. The blatant racism of the day is also recreated in depth, making us shake our heads as we realize this happened in our life times. (well some of our lifetimes anyway...LOL)
The segregation battles fought by these women is startling.
The fact that its a true story makes it especially enjoyable as you see this trio of trailblazers making a difference.
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) plays against type as a supervisor unwilling to bend to tomorrow, Mahershala Ali (House of Cards) is excellent as an Army Colonel with his eyes on one of our trio and Kirsten Dunst plays well against type as Dorothy's supervisor that you can watch wrestling with the equation of 60's womens and racial rights in the workplace.
Glen Powell (Everybody Wants Some) is a standout as John Glenn, making me forget Ed Harris as Glenn in "The Right Stuff" for two hours and that's high praise.
Henson, Spencer and Monae nail every scene, providing as much detail in their everyday lives as they do their workplace efforts.
Costner is his stalwart, terrific self as their color blind supervisor with one goal in mind.
A massive box-office hit against its $25 million budget with $170 million in tickets sold, its proof that Americans will come out for a well told, original story.
These women are American heroes in every sense. HIDDEN FIGURES gets an A.
Stay tuned at the end for some powerful moments detailing the lives of these women after the years portrayed in the film. Inspiring.