Okay so I’ve been bad at this. The plan was to go to the movies every Tuesday for cheap movie night, but then I started to make plans on Tuesday night when led me astray. I’ve been meaning to see Hidden Figures for like a month. Good things come to those who wait though as I finally managed to get my ass to the Western Regal for some big screen fun times.
I’m a sucker for movies based on real life, if they can teach me something new about history (perhaps without the added in Hollywood made up parts) then I’m always drawn in. ‘Hidden Figures’ was all about that for me. Nasa? 1960’s outfits? Math? Yeah I’m all on this. All in. I’m trying to watch all the movies that have been nominated for Oscar’s this year, so this is my first outing.
It’s a little bit strange to watch a movie set in the 1960’s where people were dealing with segregation and to find it very relevant to today. We’re not blatantly dealing with separate facilities for white people and black people anymore but if we look at racism in the police force and the differences in the way people are judged based on their skin colour for example you can’t help but feel like there’s still a barrier. It’s a serious movie at points, you can feel the tension but also knows how to keep things lighter to provide balance…
Katherine Johnson: How can you be possibly ogling these white men?
Mary Jackson: It’s equal rights. I have the right to see fine in every color
The film is fantastic because of the three actresses in the main roles.. Mary (Janelle Monáe) was sassy and smart and didn’t take no for an answer when anything stood in her way. A fantastic message to us all right now, when the man is holding you down you fight your way to what you deserve. Kathryn (Taraji P. Henson) who held her own in a world that only knew white men, not only held her own but came out of her shell and was better than all of them, to the extent where the astronauts only trusted her math. Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) who mastered coding, taught it to her entire team and got them all jobs running the computers. Can you imagine having something coming along that would lead to you losing your job and just deciding “well I’m going to master the new thing instead”? How often do we give up now instead of going for the challenge?
The audience in the cinema we were in were clapping the whole time. You heard reactions when the lead characters had comebacks to anyone who tried to talk down to them, we were all emotionally invested in what was going on the screen. When Al Harrison knocked down the bathroom sign and declared everyone and NASA was one colour, people cheered in the cinema. When Kathryn questions her boss after she declares she’s not racist by saying “Are you sure about that?” we all know how that feels. It’s a film that draws you in, but we’ve all been fighting together against racist, shitty governments lately. I think a lot of us just feel a sense of unity and things like this film draw it out. We want equality and to make this world a better place for everyone regardless of sex or colour or race. When you watch a film about people smashing the system it gives you hope, especially one like this that is a true story.
I’m also going to give a shout to Pharrell and his power at really soundtracking films well. I say this as a person who deeply feels things about Despicable Me because of the soundtrack. The track when Kathryn is running back and forth from the bathroom perfectly captures the mood. The whole thing is era perfect but also atmospherically on point. I would like to own it and listen to it again and again. Actually I might head myself over to Spotify and see if I can.
This film was worth the wait. If you’re anything like me and the start of this year has burnt you out emotionally due to incompetent Presidents, racists and white fascism in your face then this is a way to make you see we can fight and win, even if the odds aren’t on your side.
Tags: hidden figures
Maryam Hassan is a 32 year old Photographer, Montessori Teacher, Wearer of Yellow from London who transplanted herself to Chicago in 2015. She likes punk music, hash browns, animal facts and mangoes.
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