Following on from our showing of A United Kingdom, this is another film telling a story that virtually no-one knows and it is no coincidence that it is a story of unrecognised black women. It was released in the USA in the same year that there was a storm of protest about the lack of recognition of the work of black filmmakers and actors at the Oscars. This has been addressed, with Moonlight rightly winning Best Film, and this film has also attracted a host of nominations and awards. It was also nominated for the Oscar Best Film and the whole cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a cast in a film.
Hidden Figures tells the incredible story of Katherine G Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), brilliantly clever African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to achieve extraordinary things and could have been hugely influential and inspiring to young black girls, if only anyone had told the story before the book on which it was based was published in 2016.
The three central performances are wonderful and, as a viewer, you will find yourself rooting for their characters in the individual battles they have to fight in order to be able to contribute as fully as they can to the central project. The film is not without its moments of humour and there is a great soundtrack from such luminaries as Pharrell Williams.
This is a heart-warming film and not one to be missed if you have been running low on inspiration in life lately. Let the stories of three geniuses tell you how a woman, a black woman at that, despite several hurdles, can still cross the finish line.
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Venue: William Loveless Hall