Monday, March 6, 2017

Hidden Figures

Saturday night, I went with a couple of friends and saw Hidden Figures. FINALLY. It's been out for a couple months and now is only playing in a few theaters around here. Heck, last Monday when we talked about setting this up, Google wasn't telling us about ANY theaters showing it after Wednesday. Which sort of surprised me, because reports were that it was still earning a lot of money.

So after we all got to the place a good half hour drive from my house, we settled in. The theater it was showing in was pretty small - like maybe 150 to 200 seats - and was mostly full except for the front rows that are about two feet from the screen.

And what an amazing movie! I think my favorite part is how supportive the families are - with some qualms and conflict, of course, but how, when it comes down to it, their husbands and friends and kids and parents are behind them. And Dorothy Vaughan "borrowing" the book on Fortran from the white section of the library and being the first to figure out the giant computer. And not only that, but teaching the other African American women "computers" how to use it, too, instead of all being laid off.

Some aspects of it were kind of facile and trying to hard to portray some of the white people as heroes of sorts just for being baseline decent and wanting to let the black women work for them. I'm still mulling this thought. Dissecting my white privilege is not really best done with a headache.

One interesting thing was that several people in the audience applauded at the end. As if the actors could hear them, you know? I mean, I can sort of see it on opening weekend, but it's really awesome, but slightly weird, to clap for something in its third month.

Also, it's quite interesting to read the Wikipedia article about it, pointing out the historical inaccuracies, fact-checking the movie (Like: Mary Jackson didn't have to go to court to take engineering classes *and* she was already an engineer by the year the movie is set in. And the Costner character is a composite and no one took a crow bar to the Colored Only restroom signs.). So the movie conflates time and events and people for the sake of drama.

Overall, it was a very good movie with laughing and crying and cheering (internally. This is not a sporting event. See above comment about applauding.). And thinking about the brilliant minds which are discounted and who battle for every step up. Whether it's constant racism and jingoism faced by minorities and new immigrants or all the belittling crap women have withstood since forever. Or the disdain and abuse faced by LGBTQ+ people. All the micro- and macro-aggressions out there can sure mess up your education and career prospects.

Or what came up this weekend:
Q: What did Watson and Crick discover?
A: Rosalind Franklin's notes.

And then multiply that by ten for every societal stigma and voting right taken away.

And celebrate the fierce, brilliant ones who lead the way, but also think about why white men are still the first to get hired and promoted. Just think a bit.

And leave a comment.


ALSO, go out and buy my 17th century French romance/historical fiction.

Here's my Amazon page. 

And they're available from many, many other ebook publishers.

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