Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2016)
Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
A film made with an Academy audience in mind, and released just in time. Many such films are biopics about people who fought for a worthy cause and triumphed over adversity. They may also add dramatic intensity (i.e. distort the truth), and often have reviewers reaching for rarely-used words like ‘mawkish’ to go in front of ‘sentimentality’.
The film is by-the-numbers: a straightforward inspirational yarn penned by two writers (Melfi and Allison Schroeder, adapting a book by Margot Lee Shetterly) with a tin ear for dialogue.
... Like Australia’s The Dish, Hidden Figures is a sweet-natured, space race-themed, comedy-splashed drama that plays to the back rows — with big messages, no surprises and an aversion to subtlety. It works best as a film about victories that are small in certain senses and large and significant in others: getting discriminatory signs and stickers taken down, being able to study at a formerly white-only school, crashing meetings full of stuffy white guys and so forth.
... The script ain’t subtle, that’s for sure, and the dialogue is pseudo profound. Still, Hidden Figures is endearing and well-intentioned: a bit of a postcard history lesson, but pleasant enough. Luke Buckmaster, dailyreview.
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 27 February, 2017 | Now: 6 April, 2017