Now this is a super hero movie. Each one of the three lead women in Hidden Figures is a hero in her own right, overcoming obstacle after obstacle in a quest not only to exist in a space which insists they don't belong, but thrive there. This film is everything everyone should be watching right now, it's what I dream of seeing on the screen more. If you haven't gone to see it yet you should, and if you have gone to see it maybe you should go again. Tell Hollywood this is the kind of film you want to see, tell them by buying another ticket.
Each layer in this film is awesome; women in STEM careers, women dealing with a male dominated workplace (and world), race relations in the early 1960's, the tension between the USA and Russia during the space race, becoming obsolescent in the face of new technology, it's all there. As a millennial who learned about segregation in history class, how important it is to see that reality portrayed, that level of injustice made visual, on screen. Reading about something that happened thirty years before you were born and seeing it represented on film are somehow different, that's why film is important. Reading about segregation as a child in school I felt it was ridiculous and horrible, seeing it portrayed on screen Thursday night brought tears of anger to my eyes. The violence of two separate water fountains, the absurd stupidity of it, is still somehow mind blowing. How was this allowed to happen? How was anyone blind to the fact that the world around them was so tremendously wrong? How does this continue today? We shouldn't need a reminder that we are indeed stronger together and that diversity (of gender, race, and also everything else) is what has (and will, despite horrible old white guys and the ignorant who vote for them) made America great, but Hidden Figures does a beautiful job doing just that.
One of the best moments, out of many, for me was when Kirsten Dunst's character Vivian Mitchell tells Octavia Spencer's Dorothy Vaughan that "Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y'all" and Dorothy responds "I know you probably believe that". It reminded me of a photo of one of the signs from this weekend's Women's Marches: "I'll see all you nice white ladies at the next #BlackLivesMatter march, right?". Feminism without intersectionality is not progress (or real feminism really). You can believe yourself progressive all you want, but if you don't show up it says it all (I'll note I am reprimanding myself too in this statement). I saw this film on Thursday, I marched in Denver on Saturday. I walked alongside thousands of women, most of whom (and myself included) have never bothered to show up for other demonstrations or protests. I do not intend to regret my inaction in the future, silence is unacceptable. (I do understand some people cannot attend physical events due to anxiety or for other reasons, which is totally fair, but we all have a responsibility to try and help in some way, be it donating to the causes, speaking up when we should, or educating others.)
Back to the film. Women supporting other women, building each other up, paving the way for their daughters. Just--yes. YES.
All of this would be wonderful even if the film was missing something else, even if the script, or production design, or costumes didn't match up. Instead they do, and the combination makes for one of the best films I've seen in a long while. Just look at the screencaps below; These women are literally color in a grey world. They are feminine in a boxy grey landscape of opposition.
Have you seen Hidden Figures yet? How did you like it?
Images credit : IMBD