Capsule Review: Hidden Figures


Some parts of this film could be mistaken for a feel-good Hallmark movie. It’s got some good actors, notably Octavia Spenser (up for Best Supporting Actress) and Kevin Costner, who is surprisingly not walking through this one…but the beating heart of the film is about the racism the women endured at NASA.  The film’s emphasis on the apartheid like working conditions and the long suffering women who tirelessly dedicated their lives to helping our astronauts get into space is not really quite enough of a driving force to make this one pop. It could have been a made for TV movie, with one notable exception in the scene where Octavia brings her workers to the new work space equipped with IBM Computers, where she is empowered and they are finally not segregated. This isn’t really a spoiler, it’s simply part of history that makes this an inspiring film for the teachable moment in high school classes around the country.

But my recommendation, which ranges from Must See at the Movies to
Give it a Miss would put this one somewhere in the middle. You can
wait for the small screen debut and acknowledge this to be a nice popcorn, feel-good type of film. The fact that this movie is even up in the Best Picture category speaks volumes for the weak field of entries this year.

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Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at

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