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Hidden Figures

8/10

Stars: Taraji P Henson, Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Janelle MonŠe, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Kimberley Quinn

Director: Theodore Melfi

This more-than-inspiring true-life drama focuses on a group of talented Afro-American women who worked on NASA space programmes in the early 1960s (and beyond). Leading character is mathematical genius Katherine Goble (Henson) who, as a child of seven (Lidya Jewett), was sent to an exclusive, if still all-black boys' school: her mastery of algebraic equations was even then astonishing.

Thirty-five years later, we find her widowed with three daughters, and working in the 'colored' computer section at NASA.

Touted as someone with more than a head for figures, Katherine finds herself transferred to the main computer room, headed by gruff Col Harrison (Costner), where details of space flights are calculated. Harrison soon comes to appreciate Katherine's worth, though chief computer scientist Stafford (Parsons) sees her as a threat and gives her a cool reception, as well as a coffee flask labelled 'colored'.

Besides being thought-provoking, the film is also thrilling and suspenseful at times, especially when the epic flight of John H Glenn (Powell), who has demanded that Katherine personally check all the data, is threatened by disaster. It's essential viewing.


David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by efilm.
122 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Jul 2017

DVD review