Amazing performances “Hidden” throughout clichéd film
We’ve made it, folks, to one of the most fascinating times to be a movie buff: Oscar Season! This is also the time of year when we look at the list of nominees and think about all the more qualified films out there that deserve to be nominated for Best Picture. For some this year, “La La Land” is their bottom pick, and for others, it’s “Manchester by the Sea.” For me, and it pains me to admit this, it’s “Hidden Figures.”
I can’t go so far as to say that “Hidden Figures” is a bad film on its own terms. The story that this film is based on, which describes how three African-American women change the course of the Space Race for the betterment of America, is something to be commended–especially, if the film does succeed to inspire people to stand up for what is right, then the film has done its job well.
For me, however, I still have to write about how I felt and thought about it. From my perspective, the script of “Hidden Figures” is problematic in how it tells this particular story. For one thing, it skips straight to the three women in their adult years heading over to work for NASA. This is an issue considering we aren’t told how they met and what they accomplished beforehand, which deprives the viewer of a significant emotional connection. One could argue that the viewer could do the research online beforehand, but considering that the film is many’s first exposure to the story, I found that aspect to be a missed opportunity.
My second issue pertains to the elephant in the room: how the film handles racism. Here’s the thing, this story couldn’t be more timely. Especially, with the fact that America seems to be getting more divided by the minute. Sure enough, this film lets us know how this era couldn’t be more racist if it tried. There’s even a scene where Katherine, played by Taraji P. Henson, has to run from one building to the next in order to use the colored restroom. I mention this particular scene because that is one of the very few times where the film actually identifies something about the era of which I wasn’t fully aware. Everything else? It’s about as boring, clichéd and stereotypical of a script that I can think of. The fact that such an awesome story gets such poor treatment is disrespectful to those who inspired it. How this film’s script gets nominated over something as beautifully written as “A Monster Calls” is beyond me.
It’s a shame, because there are some really good actors who worked on this film, including Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and even Jim Parsons. Shame they couldn’t save a problematic Best Picture nominee from hackneyed clichés.