Katherine, Mary & Dorothy – Three ‘human computers’ working in NASA’s Langley Research Centre – rise above the oppression and glass ceiling that women in general and Afro-Americans in particular were being subjected to in the 60s to make crucial contributions to America’s milestone pursuit of launching a man successfully into the Orbit.
Running Time:
126 min
Release date:
25 December 2016
Directed by:
Theodore Melfi
Produced by:
Donna Gigliotti
Jenno Topping
Peter Chernin
Pharrell Williams
Theodore Melfi
Written by:
Allison Schroeder
Theodore Melfi
Adopted from Novel by Margot Lee Shetterly
Janelle Monae
Taraji P Henson
Octavia Spencer
Kevin Costner
Aldis Hodge
Mahershala Ali
Music by:
Benjamin Wallfisch
Hans Zimmer
Pharrell Williams
Shot by:
Mandy Walker
Editing by:
Peter Teschner
Distributed by:
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Warner Bros

What’s Hot

  • In Theodore Melfi & Allison Schroeder’s screenplay, the film stays focused to its apparent intention of paying tribute and painting an inspiring picture on the three ladies in limelight. What makes it work also is how the three are different in the way they face the odds and tower over them.
  • An ultra-positive film is difficult for the viewer to root for unless it has some distinct characters with fine performances and here, Taraji Henson (as the bespectacled Math prodigy Katherine), Janelle Monae (as the feisty go-getter Mary) & Octavia Spencer (as the rational smart crusader Dorothy) give us just that.
  • The roles of Kevin Costner, who plays the Program lead Al, & Kirsten Dunst come to the defense of the important ‘not all passives are haters’ point and Al’s no-nonsense approach towards societal norms delights us when we see him rip apart a ‘Colored Restroom’ board.
  • The science angle is dealt with cautiously here by director Theodore Melfi in a way not to take the focus away from the primary plot point & we are made to feel a little comfortable as the scientists talk about Rocket science in a ‘This is no rocket science’ manner.
  • The music (by Zimmer, Pharrell and Co.) & Editing (Peter Teschner) make a mark as we are made to follow Katherine in her embarrassing and pitiable washroom chases. The vastness of the Research centre is captured in Mandy Walker’s frames & Missy Parker’s sets.

What’s Not

  • The film is cliché-ridden like a lot of uplifting Hollywood stories & makes the sequences a lot more predictable.
  • The character Paul Stafford (played by the ‘Sheldon Cooper’ fame Jim Parsons) comes across as a stereotype and doesn’t convince us of its hatred & dumbness.


Art Direction


Verdict Stamp

Hidden Figures pays a glorious tribute to its leads whose contributions mattered significantly in times when they were typically sidelined due to race & gender. It has all the ingredients that make stories of ‘odds defying’ characters succeed but the optimistic treatment prevents it from elevating to something special