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Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Movie Mania - Hidden Figures

Back in the late sixties, my parents brought home a book called "We Came in Peace." It was one of those special deals that you got a free copy if you bought a certain amount of gasoline. (Giveaways at gas stations were pretty common back then.) It chronicled the efforts of the Apollo program to land the first human on the Moon.

I devoured the book. Granted at the time it was published, I couldn't read yet, but I could follow the pictures. And I re-read it over and over again once I had learned to read. One illustration that stuck in my mind over the years was a African-American woman hand-sewing a spacesuit.

Today, that picture would be described as demeaning. Back then, it was nearly unheard of for a non-white to be in an illustrated book. It shows how far we've come in the United States, and how how far we have to go.

And that little book perfectly sums up the movie Hidden Figures. We could have beaten the Russians into space if it weren't for our own racism.

For the movie itself, it received a PG rating for showing archival footage of Civil Rights violence and for showing one of the lead character having to do her work in the segregated bathroom. In my opinion, this film is positive and family friendly. All parents should taken their eight years and older children to see it.


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SPOILERS


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PROS
1) I've loved Taraji P. Henson since her days on the series Person of Interest (one of those rare shows our entire family watched; I highly recommend binging it). She rocks as the shy but determined Katherine G. Johnson, a mathematician with NASA from the Mercury through the Apollo programs.

2) Showing black men in a positive light. One of my favorite actors, Aldis Hodge, plays Levi Jackson, the husband of aspiring engineer Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monae). His character could have easily slid into the stereotype of the angry black man, but Aldis brings a loving and respectful slant to Levi, especially in his support of Mary working to get her engineering degree.

3) Is there anything the fabulous Octavia Spencer can't do? If she and Taraji aren't nominated for Oscars on Tuesday, then what little belief I still have in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will  be utterly destroyed.

4) I have to give a nod to Glen Powell, who definitely captured the charisma of the former astronaut and late Senator John Glenn. (Hey, five of my cousins attended John Glenn High School in New Concord, Ohio, and one of them had the privilege of attending the announcement of Glenn's run for president.) It's amazing how stupid beliefs fall away when it's your life on the line.

CONS
1) Uuuuuhhhhhhhmmmmmm......Sorry, I can't think of a damn thing.



Hidden Figures gets 11 stars out of 10 from me. Seriously, go see it.



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