Film reviews: Hidden Figures, Moonlight, The Founder and more

Friday, 17 February 2017

The rousing, inspirational Hidden Figures sets out to change that, shining a spotlight on some of the brilliant minds who were vital to securing America’s victory in the space race of the 1960s.

We all know about the bravery shown by pioneer astronauts such as John Glenn and Neil Armstrong who risked their lives to take a giant leap for humankind. Hidden Figures celebrates the role of three black women who worked behind the scenes to make their incredible journeys possible.

Hidden Figures begins in 1961 when the Civil Rights movement has yet to secure its victories and America is a land divided.

Katherine G Johnson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) all work at Nasa’s Langley Research Centre in Virginia. They are all bright, able, patriotic women but being black means they have to work twice as hard to be noticed and are faced by blind prejudices that provoke righteous anger in the viewer.

Katherine is a mathematical genius whose speedy calculations can make a new-fangled computer look sluggish. She is the brightest person in any room and is invited to join a special task force led by Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) and calculate the safest way for John Glenn to orbit Earth.