Tuesday, February 7, 2017


If, like me, you like based-on-true-events, up-from-obscurity, fish-out-of-water, or underdog-triumphs movie plots when well executed, you'll love HIDDEN FIGURES. It combines all of those and more. The casting and the performances are so right, there are times when the film almost feels like a documentary, despite the obvious plot-points of a story that may seem predictable, but transcends that with dialogue and performances that make almost every scene resonate with reality.

I was in the military, stationed even further South than the still segregated Virginia the movie takes place in, and during the same period. I rode on segregated buses and got in trouble for sitting in the back instead of up front with my fellow "whites." I refused to drink from the "whites only" drinking fountains, and more. I got run out of the state when the local sheriff insisted to my commander that I be sent away.

Not that I was brave, I was foolhardy actually, endangering the lives of others with my bravado actions, not realizing fully the extent of the brutality of the local racism that could have harmed others on the periphery of my behavior.

HIDDEN FIGURES brought back all the emotions raised when I first encountered official segregation in South Carolina in 1962, and the bravery of the African-American citizens of that time who faced this brutal oppression and violence every day of their existence, as so beautifully portrayed by the three leads in this film—Taraj P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Morae—with special kudos to Henson for an almost movie-stealing performance.

Other performers worth noting: Kevin Costner, Kristen Dunst (in a tour-de-force performance of a clueless racist's transformation), Jim Parsons and Mahershala Ali. Well worth watching.

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