What I love the most about the holidays is the amount of free time at hand to read, go to the movies and engage in many other cultural activities. While I am working on finishing Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, I checked out one of my must-watch movie of the season: Hidden Figures.
I love movies that have a good and deep story to tell, especially with a strong female cast. Imagine my excitement to see my whole time favourite, Taraji P. Henson co-starring with Octavia Spencer & Janelle Monáe in a movie that recounts the life of the African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson and her two friends and colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who, while enduring segregation, helped NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) catch up in the Space Race against the Soviets.
The movie, more than being another depiction of the Civil Rights Movement, takes a feminist and empowering approach, focusing on the struggle of black women, alongside those of their men, fighting to get their voices heard and have their rights acknowledged in the then-segregated state of Virginia. Taraji P. Henson gives an award-winning performance in depicting a strong-willed, courageous and devoted woman and mother – something I have not seen on the screen since Viola Davis in The Help. Octavia Spencer who plays Dorothy, embodies THE protective black mom who won’t take sh*t from anybody, including her superior played by Kirsten Dust, nor the police officer who tried to come at her two sons. Janelle Monáe aka Mary Jackson reminds me of myself, the funky and outspoken member of the crew who will fight anybody who tries to get in the way of her dreams, may that be her husband or the racist Jim Crow laws.
This movie is a gem and got me teared up on multiple occasions. I enjoyed the determination and patience these three ladies displayed throughout their respective struggles not only as females but most importantly as Black women, evolving in a world full of misogyny. As a black woman, I ought to educate myself on structural matters that have shaped the African-American community in order to better understand the culture that I am trying to integrate. Movies like this help me gain more awareness of those key historical personalities and moments.
I am definitely adding the book by Virginia native Margot Lee Shetterly on my reading list. I definitely recommend this movie for girls’ night, a date or even solo. I went to watch it at AMC Empire 25 with my cousin who is visiting from France and we both LOVED it! The movie was released on Christmas day in the U.S. in limited locations will be expand on January 6.