Every so often, the Odeon Cinema chain in the UK holds ‘Screen Unseen‘, where you pay a nominal price to see a movie of their choice, usually two or three weeks before it comes out. In 2016, I was lucky enough to see some great movies but I struggle to remember them all, this year I will capture them here.
This month’s Screen Unseen was Hidden Figures, a story based on real life about a group of African-American women in segregation-era America who were involved in the early days of the space race. As gifted and talented mathematicians, they provided the ‘computer’ power required to execute the unmanned and early manned missions. I hadn’t heard much about this film, so was really pleased to be presented this one. It’s a feel-good story, possibly slightly romanticised, but brimming with humour and some sadness as the three key characters navigate working in a predominantly white-male NASA in the early sixties.
There are some excellent scenes as one-by-one the NASA colleagues begin to see the value that the ‘computers’ bring to the space programme, with the key character being instrumental in sending the first man to space, as well as implementing the first IBM mainframe. The cast is excellent, with Kevin Costner playing a pivotal role, alongside Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.
Once again, Screen Unseen popped up an unexpected gem of a movie. I’ll be looking out for the next one.