The worldwide release of a movie does not necessarily extend to India. Generally, we miss out on a number of great movies of the West, simply because these films never release in India. In the month of February, however, once the Oscar nominations are out, most of these films get an Indian release date, giving us the opportunity to catch them in theatres. One such film to watch out for is Hidden Figures.
If you caught the Golden Globes this year, you would have noticed that there was a running joke around a movie called ‘Hidden Fences’. There’s no such movie, but it is simply an amalgamation of Hidden Figures and Fences, which are different movies. What’s similar among the two films is that they both represent the black minority of the USA. Both the movies are based on the lives of African-Americans, and they are both set in the mid-20th century. However, while Hidden Figures is based on real people, the latter is borrowed from August Wilson’s Pulitzer-winning play.
We are not sure if Fences will release in India, but here’s what you need to know about Hidden Figures:
It is based on a true story of really smart women.
Yes, Hidden Figures is a women-centric film. The three women shown in the film are not only brave, but also very smart. In a backward-minded and racist America, these women rose above ranks at NASA to become the brains behind one of the greatest operations in the history of the country. With their great minds and amazing mathematical computing skills, the US launched astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and brought him back safely.
These women are played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
One of the key women in the mission was Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson. You may remember her from the primetime show, Empire, where she plays the formidable Cookie Lyon. Unlike her character on the show, Taraji in Hidden Figures is very docile, with a brilliant mind. Yet, she struggles to prove her worth, being the first black woman to work in the Space Task Group.
The other important women are Octavia Spencer, portraying an unofficial supervisor of the segregated Computers division of Langley Research Centre, and Janelle Monáe as an aspiring engineer.
These women played critical roles in raising the bar for colored women in America.
Katherine’s sheer intelligence helped launch John Glenn into the orbit, and her timely computations ensured his safe return. Meanwhile, Spencer’s character Dorothy Vaughan plays an important role in setting up the installation of the IBM 7090 electronic computer and promoting her team of segregated women to the Programming Department.
Mary Jackson, played by Monáe, desires to pursue an engineering degree. Despite objection from her husband, she convinces a court judge to allow her to attend night classes in an all-white school, thereby attaining her degree.
The film throws light on the widespread racism of the time.
It is common knowledge that white and black people used different bathrooms in the US at the time. Katherine has to run to another building to use the bathroom, as the Space Task Group did not have any for black people. Dorothy is reprimanded for looking for a book in the ‘whites-only’ section of the library, and when she fights back, she is subsequently thrown out. Mary has to fight in court just to pursue an engineering degree, as the college offering the degree has all-white classes.
Oscar nominee Mahershala Ali is also a part of the movie.
Mahershala Ali plays Jim Johnson – Katherine’s love interest, and later husband. This is the second time the couple have been paired together, the first being in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Another cast member you may recognize from television is Jim Parsons, who plays Paul Stafford, the head engineer in the Space Task Group, and Katherine’s colleague. Kevin Costner plays the director of the STG, while Kirsten Dunst is the supervisor of the Computers division, where Dorothy works.
The music of the film has been written and composed by Pharrell Williams.
Between all the wacky red carpet appearances and outrageous outfit choices made by Pharrell, you had almost forgotten that he is, in fact, a music composer and singer. He oversaw all the musical elements in the film, including the soundtrack, along with Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer. The trio were nominated for Best Original Score at the Black Reel Awards, Satellite Awards and Golden Globe Awards.
While the movie did not win any awards, it has several nominations.
Besides music, the movie also got several nominations for its performances. Octavia Spencer is in the race for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but her chances look slim before Viola Davis, who is nominated for Fences. The cast also has collective nominations at several awards and international film festivals, even winning a few of them. Meanwhile, Taraji P. Henson is said to be the most snubbed actress at this year’s awards.
The movie is coming to theatres near you.
If you are eager to watch this film, it is set to release this week, on Friday, February 17. Do not miss out on one of the most wonderful films of the year, based on such inspiring lives. Movies like these are the need of the hour, and you mustn’t miss this one. Watch the trailer of the film here: