My Review: Hidden Figures & Fences

No, this is not a review of Hidden Fences, which seemed to be a common mistake made at the Golden Globes this year. This is a review of the two films, Hidden Figures and Fences, which are both nominated for several Oscars including Best Picture.

Hidden Figures

Theodore Melfi's film tells a story that I had not heard of until now. The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. This was, of course, a time where racial tensions were still very high (NASA had segregated work spaces, restrooms, etc.). But the team: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson - played by Octavia Spencer. Janelle Monaé and Taraji P. Henson, respectively - defied race and gender lines to help place the United States at the forefront of the global space race.

I cannot be happier that this story is being told. As I said, I never really knew about these three remarkable ladies and their contributions to the space program despite facing challenges outside of their control. The film itself tells their story brilliantly with heart - and adding some occasional humor as well. There is also a message embedded in Hidden Figures: dream big. No matter what obstacles you may face, you have to persevere and believe that you can accomplish great things.

I Give It An: A

Check Out the Trailer Here

Fences

Directed by Denzel Washington, Fences tells the story of Troy Mason (played by Washington), a working-class African-American father, who tries to take care of his family while dealing with his own personal struggles. Troy always dreamed of being a professional baseball player but sees his dream ripped away from him as he's deemed too old to play by the time pro teams admit black athletes. Still bitter about it, Troy creates tensions that will test him and his family.

Wow. That's the only word I could muster to say after seeing this film. Washington and Viola Davis - who plays Troy's wife, Rose - give some of the best performances of their careers. That's saying a lot given they are two of the best actors of our lifetime. Beyond that, the story is tremendous. The film takes you on this roller coaster ride of emotions, gripping you from the moment it begins. A good film will envelope me in its world and Fences did just that.

I Give It An: A

Check Out the Trailer Here