I really enjoyed watching Hidden Figures. The story was compelling and
laid out neatly for our viewing pleasure. It shone a spotlight on a
part of history with which I wasn't familiar. And, most importantly, it
made me want to learn more about Katherine Goble Johnson, Mary Jackson,
and Dorothy Vaughan. What a shame the screenwriters felt they had to
preach at me about racism rather than just tell the true story of these
amazing and talented women. They weren't amazing and talented "in
spite" of being black or "in spite" of being women, they were just
amazing and talented in their own right. One day, perhaps, Hollywood
will get a clue and give audiences credit for having a brain.
Much of the atmosphere of racism in the movie did not ring true for me. In many cases it didn't even make sense, so I looked into it. The first question I had for the internet was "Did Katherine Goble have to run half a mile to use a bathroom on the NASA complex?" The answer is no. For more info on the conditions and life of Katherine Johnson check out the interview with her here: https://youtu.be/r8gJqKyIGhE. In particular check out 11:49 where she says she "didn't feel segregation". Everyone was working. The job was important and they weren't going to jeopardize the mission with foolish racist antics. She was part of a team. I would've liked to have heard so much more about Katherine and her mind and work, less about the social issues of the 1960s!
I understand screenwriters have to condense a large amount of information into a couple of hours but the ham-handed and, let's be honest, false representation of racism at NASA and the treatment of these women was a repeated and unwelcome intrusion into what should have been a very interesting and educational movie about such remarkable women. For example: I strongly suspect Katherine Goble never, ever would have been so unprofessional as to scream at her boss and co-workers like she does in what Hollywood probably sees as a "cathartic" scene. It was completely out of character and a distraction from what should have been the real story, that of Katherine's accomplishments. Goble was a conscientious and intelligent woman who would've never done such a thing which, to my way of thinking, says a lot more about her than this silly, manufactured scene.
But I don't want to run the risk of being just as ham-handed in my review and I'll leave my criticism at that. I'll only add, don't let the prospect of being bludgeoned by an anti-racism message keep you from going to see Hidden Figures.
Biography / Drama / History
Biography / Drama / History
As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
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March 24, 2017 at 08:12 AM