Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hidden Figures

Having grown up without the distraction of TV, the boredom of Sunday was relieved by Sunday School/church and a trip to the cinema to see a double (two films) in the afternoon, possibly with swimming at Pegasus in between.  With the re-entry of cinemas in Guyana, I reflected that my time must be drawing to a close as I have come back almost to full circle of going to the cinema at weekends.
Hidden Figures was a pun on the coloured female mathematicians who worked on the Space program in the 1950s/60s. While the three black actresses were very believable, I thought the white actors were very good...Kirsten Dunst played the HR person talking down to the women who were her intellectual superiors, to perfection.  Jim Parsons brought his constipated look from The Big Bang Theory as the silently outraged white male whose turf was intruded on but reluctantly acknowledging the genius of Katherine Johnson.  Both characters played were fictional ones - but stuck in as gentle reminders of the Black scientists' grace under fire.  I was disappointed though that the film resorted to imagining that KJ took 40 minutes to go to the coloureds' washroom when in fact she simply used the whites' bathroom-- showing more gumption than the meek character on screen. The director said the film's portrayal was to indicate the help of the decent Whites.  I thought that was subtly done when the astronauts came to NASA and John Glenn made a point of coming over to the coloured women to introduce himself and ask their role; as I was reminded of an American Embassy staffer on duty here, who would acknowledge the help staff like the waiters when she went out, by asking their names and remembering to use said names during whatever event - I was quite impressed with that-- people simply just want to be acknowledged and appreciated.....shame that couldn't translated to American foreign policies!
The film did try to stay close the actual events and I was glad Katherine Johnson is still alive at 90-something to see it and finally be acknowledged on a larger scale-- to NASA's credit they named a building after her. As with Sully, the film ended with pictures of the real people...truly to tap the potential of a large pool of people will lead to things greater than the sum total...if only the Americans can figure THAT out.

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