Odeon Screen Unseen gives audiences the opportunity to see films that haven’t been released yet for only a fiver. The only catch is that you won’t know what you are about to see until the title screen pops up and that is how I came to watch Hidden Figures 39 days before general release in the UK.
This special event has allowed me to see Whiplash, Selma, Inside Out, Me & Earl and The Dying Girl, The Revenant and Room all well before there general release dates. It has been great as it has given me a chance to see films that I might not otherwise have seen.
Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer
Hidden Figures is one of the ones that I would definitely have seen anyway and that is due to the fact it tells a story that not that many people might know. The story is about a team of African American women who provided NASA with the important mathematical data which helped them launch the program’s first successful missions to space.
Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) are the three main leads in Hidden Figures. It is their stories that this film is based on, we get to see both the subtle and obvious forms of segregation and racism that pervaded the era in which this film is set.
Katherine Johnson showing off her work.
Katherine Johnson was so incredibly smart and Taraji P. Henson did a fantastic job of bringing this hidden figure to life. It was through her that we got to see some of the realities of this period, we saw her intelligence, the impact she had on the world around her as well as all the little reminders of the impact that segregation had on her life.
Janelle Monáe did a fantastic job of portraying Mary Jackson who went on to become an Aerospace Engineer. Octavia Spencer also did a brilliant job as Dorothy Vaughn who was NASA’s first African-American manager and an expert FORTRAN programmer. I was most impressed by her ingenuity, her determination and the way she supported her colleagues.
Dorothy Vaughn – Octavia Spencer
The leader of the space task group Al Harrison was played well by Kevin Costner. He did great in the supporting role as did Jim Parsons who played a rival mathematician who did not like the fact that Katherine Johnson was African-American or a woman. Both of these actors gave us something new, even if Jim Parsons first line was very Sheldon Copper esk.
Part of the story revolved around the home lives of these three ladies and the growing relationship between Katherine and Jim Johnson (Mahershala Ali). This element helped to flesh out the main characters but it was also the weakest part of the film. However having them in there did help to increase the impact of the scenes that happened at NASA.
Hidden Figures was not guessed by anyone when the clues for Odeon’s Screen Unseen came out and since I saw it there has been nothing but positive comments. It has a great cast, brilliant performances and does a fantastic job of telling a story that not that many people know that much about.
Whatever you might say about this film you can’t deny that it does what it sets out to do very well and that it inform us about these hidden figures.