Movie Reviews

‘Hidden Figures’ Movie Review

Hidden Figures is about three African-American female mathematicians Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who were a significant part of the NASA Space Program’s challenge of putting a man in space. The film also features Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, the director of the Space Task Group.

Image via 20th Century Fox

I really loved Hidden Figures. I’m really surprised this story isn’t taught in school. These women played a very integral role in getting John Glenn to space. It’s really important for young girls to know this story. Taraji P. Henson plays Ketherine Goble Johnson, and she is the main character in the film. She was great in this role. I loved the way she kept proving everybody wrong with her math skills. She has a scene in the film when she’s finally done with all some racial issues, and she has that scene where she gives a big speech. That usually doesn’t work for me since it’s so overdone, but I thought it was really great in the movie.

Janelle Monáe was also really great in the movie. I thought she and Taraji P. Henson were the standouts in the film. Her character wants to be an engineer, but certain restrictions are placed so she cannot achieve that. And, that was another aspect of the film I liked. The constant struggle of trying to fight past the barriers society places in front of them. There’s a line in the movie when Mary Jackson says, “Every time we get a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line. Every time.” That really came through for me, I loved seeing them move past their set backs and succeed I their careers.

Image via 20th Century Fox

Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughn, who wants to be supervisor of the colored computer group, but is not able to do so. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and while she was great, I don’t think she was better than Janelle Monáe. I don’t mean to discredit her, but I just thought that Monáe gave a more powerful performance. She really stood out in a scene in court, and she has to address the judge. That scene alone, I thought, stole the film. Getting back to Octavia Spencer, I liked how her character had a bit of sass to her, for lack of a better term. Dorothy Vaughn was the character that leads the group through racial issues specifically. I’d say her character was the most fun to watch. Also, she has the best line in the film.

Kevin Costner played the director of the Space Task Group, and he was awesome. His character was one of my favorites because he’s not really a jerk, he’s just following the rules, but when he needs to, he takes charge and makes changes. He was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory is plays Paul Stafford in this film, which was a surprise for me. His character is a jerk. He works in the same place that Katherine Johnson works, and he makes sure that she cannot do her job efficiently. His character was a little unnecessary for me, he didn’t really impact the film. Jim Parsons was fine in the role, but I just didn’t see much need for his character. He did have some good moments to set up good scenes for Taraji P. Henson to work with, and gives her one of the best lines in the movie. Kirsten Dunst is in the movie, and her character is an antagonist of sorts to Octavia Spencers’s character, and I thought that aspect worked very well. It represented the person who thinks they’re not doing anything wrong, but really is.

Image via 20th Century Fox

The film doesn’t beat you over the head with its messages. It shows you instead of telling you what it has on its mind. Also, the soundtrack is amazing. Of course, the Hans Zimmer parts are very well done, but I didn’t know Pharrell Williams did some cool songs for the movie. His songs added a sense of fun to the movie to underline the seriousness and racism of the film.

I had one flaw of the film, and that was the romance aspect. Each character has their love interest, Mahershsla Ali shows up as Colonel Jim Johnson, to be Katherine Johnson’s love interest. Aldis Hoodge plays Levi Jackson, husband of Mary Jackson. Every time they switched to the personal lives and the romantic scenes, I just wanted to get back to NASA. It wasn’t completely unbearable, everybody does their job and gives a good performance. Also, you kind of have to have that stuff so the characters aren’t too bland. It just made me want to see the main story more. the film is 2 hours and 7 minutes with credits, it could have been a little shorter.

Image via 20th Century Fox

In the end, this film was amazing! It teaches a story that you wouldn’t know if it weren’t for this film. I would definitely suggest you see this film if you haven’t already. Please go see it.

Did you see Hidden Figures? If so, leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

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Rating: A

Hidden Figures is directed by Theodore Melfi. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, and Mahershala Ali

Movie Reviews

Split: Movie Review

      M. Night Shyamalan started with a bang when he released The Sixth Sense, and then kept the ball rolling with Unbreakable and Signs. Then The Village happened … and Lady in the Water … and The Happening, … and The Last Airbender and After Earth. But then he made The Village and we got a hint that he was back. Split guarantees that Shyamalan is finally back to what he’s good at.

     Split is a psychological thriller about a man with dissociative identity disorder (James McAvoy) who has 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) and they just escape before a 24th personality comes out.

I have to start with this: James McAvoy gives the best performance of his career in this movie. And I’m a huge X-Men fan. You really feel that each person is a different personality. The most minute things he does like posture, facial expressions, and accents really shape the character. He goes all the way to create this disturbing, sinister character.

Anya Taylor-Joy, who was great in The Witch, also gives a great performance as Casey. She does a very good job of giving off this sense that there is more to her character than she is letting on. She is a new talent to watch out for in the future. As for the supporting characters, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula, they do a fine job. The problem is that whenever they are on screen they are playing off of Anya Taylor-Joy or James McAvoy and they get overshadowed, but they definitely do not give bad performances.

The movie is very well shot and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat focusing on every frame. It has a very tense and contained feel in the scenes with the three girls. However, the film has scenes where it goes to flashbacks with Casey as a little girl and McAvoy’s therapy sessions with Dr. Karen Fletcher played by Betty Buckley. The flashbacks felt forced but, without spoiling anything, they might pay off in the long run. Some of the therapy sessions were interesting, but others, especially one with e Skype call, just were a little unnecessary.

One last thing, the score in this movie by West Dylan Anderson is so subtle that you forget that it’s there, but it adds a whole new layer to the film.

In the end, Split is a very fun movie and I really recommend that you see it if you haven’t already. Shyamalan is finally back to his roots.

Rating: A

Split is rated PG-13.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, and Jessica Sula.