Movie review: Hidden Figures

Racism is unpatriotic

Theodore Melfi (2016)

When I saw a trailer for this movie and I thought two things: it looks very well made, and it looks preachy as hell.

Hidden Figures follows three black women working for NASA in the 1960’s, during a period of high tension with Russia over the space race, and the on-going struggle of black Americans and the civil rights movement.

The Good: The cast is probably the best thing about the movie, the three main characters are compelling, especially Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe (I was less convinced by Taraji P. Henson, maybe it was the way her character was written?), and of course the great Kevin Costner. I’m also a sucker for space exploration stories so I enjoyed those bits a lot

The Bad: While I understand the positive message and general ambition of the movie, I’m baffled by the lack of nuance and subtlety about it. Many times it seems to look at history and judging it by 21st century moral values (I espouse those values as well, but I really dislike this approach), but when it strays from that and focuses on the characters, it becomes much more pleasant and serves the message way better

My opinion: It’s not unpleasant to watch, and there are good moments, but I can’t get past the feeling this movie treats its viewers like toddlers. I can say that because I’m from Europe, but this is a very American movie (which is simultaneously good and bad)

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