Hidden Figures is an enjoyable, well-acted movie about an inspiring true story … and yet, it falls a bit short of greatness for me.
Focusing on the Black math prodigy Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), the film argues that history has forgotten some of the most important contributors to the Space Race, including Johnson and her colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe).
I really like all the lead performances, but I wish Vaughan and Jackson’s stories got more screen time because they’re honestly more interesting to me than Johnson’s more cinematic arc. All the characters, in their own ways, are fighting racism and discrimination, but only Johnson’s storyline implies that this is a personal rather than systemic challenge.
Put another way: This movie was filmed in mid-2016, and it shows. Johnson’s boss, a white savior character played by Kevin Costner, rings false in today’s political climate. All that being said, there’s no denying the satisfaction that Hidden Figures delivers when it counts. Recommended.