Movie review: Hidden Figures

Movie reviews

Hello!

Welcome to a review of a movie that would have been on my Top 10 films of 2016 if I have seen it before the end of the year (when will the studios realize the benefits of the global day-in-day releases?). This is Hidden Figures!

IMDb summary: Based on a true story. A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.

Similarly to Loving and Fences, Hidden Figures is a different kind of movie that spotlights the African-American talent. It’s set during the civil rights movements but doesn’t directly relate to it, even if some of the movement’s ideas are addressed in the film in a really powerful way. This movie also stands out as one of the major female-driven films of the awards season. It has been praised by critics but most importantly it managed to debut at the top of the box office list in the US, meaning that a lot of mainstream moviegoers saw it!

Writing

Hidden Figures was written by Allison Schroeder and the director of the picture Theodore Melfi, based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. I absolutely adored the film’s story. I knew about Katherine Goble Johnson before seeing the film (thank you, SciShow on Youtube) but I loved getting to know more about her as well as other African-American women working at NASA. I immensely enjoyed seeing all the different parts of NASA (the 3 of them worked in different departments – calculations, engineering, and computing) and the space race through their distinct perspective. It was actually really interesting to finally see a Cold War movie that didn’t focus on the local conflicts in Vietnam, Korea or Berlin, but a one which looked at the more passive but no less interesting space race.

In addition, I liked that not only the professional but also the private lives of the 3 main characters were presented. This made them all into more well-rounded and realistic characters. Hidden Figures’ writing also focused a lot on the importance of education, portraying it as a key to a better life. I have always been a strong believer of this statement, so the film automatically appealed to me. It was also quite cool that the picture underlined the importance of mathematics, as it is usually the most hated subjects in school (I actually quite liked it). The film’s story, even though set in 1960s, was also contemporary and very topical, if you think about its possible relation to the Women in STEM program.

Lastly, Hidden Figures tackled all kinds of discrimination, mainly sexism and racism but also general discrimination in the work place. Even though half a century has passed, all of these types of bullying are still happening today and should be stopped. Hidden Figures contributes to this conversation by a lot. And even though the film deals with serious topics, it still ends on a positive note and has a very satisfying ending. Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary are not just heroes to all girls or African-Americans. They should be idols to all underdogs and, let’s be frank, we are all underdogs in one field or another.

Directing

Hidden Figures was directed by Theodore Melfi and he did a superb job with his 2nd feature (St.Vincent was his directorial debut). The movie was balanced and well-paced, both entertaining and intellectually engaging. It was compelling, suspenseful, and intense and these feelings were only strengthened by the fact that it told a real and not a fictional story. The picture had a few very powerful scenes, like Taraji P.Henson’s character’s speech about the bathroom discrimination as well as Janelle Monáe’s courtroom speech. The film also has a few more personal and touching moments to counteract the powerful and serious scenes, like Mahershala Ali’s character’s proposal to Taraji P. Henson character.

Hidden Figures also had a magnificent soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams (he also produced the film), and Benjamin Wallfisch. It was upbeat and fun and really helped to lighten up the serious mood of the picture. When watching the film, I didn’t know who composed the movie’s music, but now, seeing who was involved, I’m not at all surprised that I liked the soundtrack. I mean, Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams!? Such a great combo of class and pop!

Acting

The three leading ladies of the film were played by Taraji P.Henson (Empire), Octavia Spencer (The Help, Snowpiercer, Zootopia, Divergent) and the newcomer Janelle Monáe. I absolutely loved the individual performances of all the actresses as well as their chemistry in the group scenes. In my mind, the cast is the film’s strongest element so it is not surprising that the movie received a lot of SAG nominations. Octavia Spencer has been getting the majority of the recognition but I would have preferred if they would have spotlighted Taraji P. Henson in the lead actress category instead. Spencer already had her big win with The Help andmore importantly, I thought that Henson’s performance was stronger. If the voters wanted to only reward the film’s in the supporting actress category (like they are doing now),  Janelle Monáe should have received a nomination instead of Octavia Spencer. Monáe is a true breakout star of 2016, as she was also in Moonlight. Don’t get me wrong, Spencer was great too but it would have just been nice to reward the other two actresses as well or instead.

The picture also has a splendid array of secondary characters who were brought to life by great actors. Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons played a familiar role (he can’t seem to escape the nerdy scientist part) and did a great job. His character was the one that bullied Katherine the most, but I think that he would have been jealous of anyone. Sadly, Katherine’s gender and skin color made her an easy target. Kirsten Dunst (Midnight Special) also played a part in the film and had an amazing line that just summed up the movie perfectly. I, of course, mean her statement about how the USA are fast to space but slow when it comes to the progress on the ground. Mahershala Ali, who was in Moonlight too, also had a small role and did a nice job. The mainstream audiences know him best from Luke Cage, so his career, both the mainstream and the indie parts of it, are on the rise. Lastly, even Kevin Costner (Draft Day, McFarland, USAdelivered his best and the most interesting performance in years.

In short, Hidden Figures was an excellent film that told an important and fascinating story but did that in an entertaining way. The movie was really well-made behind the scenes and it also had the best on-screen ensemble I’ve seen in a couple of years.

Rate: 4.8/5

Trailer: Hidden Figures trailer

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Back-to-school haul + school year in my country

Beauty&Fashion

Hello!

Since it’s almost autumn and most of you already started your new school year and I am starting mine in a week, I decided to do a Back-to-School type blog post. This will mostly be a haul of clothes and accessories for school, but in the end I will also include some other goods: like notebooks and etc., which I enjoy using. Moreover, I will give you some information about the school system in Lithuania.

There are 3 types of schools in Lithuania: elementary school (4 years), middle school (4 years) and high school (4 years). You don’t necessarily need to change schools tree times: elementary and middle schools most of the time are in the same building and are practically the same school that consists of 8 years. I have attended one school from 1st to 8th grades in my neighborhood (it was like 10 min walk away from my house) and I transferred to a private high school (gymnasium) in the 9th grade which is located in the city center. On September 1st, which is an official start day of the school year in Lithuania and is also considered to be a celebration of knowledge day, I will be starting my senior year (12th grade).

In my school, we have to wear black jackets – they are an official uniform. However, a lot of students don’t wear them and it really pisses me off because I used to wear one all the time.

During 12th grade, we don’t have any school dances, proms or homecomings like US schools have. But we do have our interpretations of these celebrations.

We have a 100 day celebration, in which we commemorate that we have only 100 days of school left. I guess it’s like our prom. Then, we have a Last Bell celebration, which is held on the last day of school before we star our exams. After the exams comes graduation. But in order to graduate, you have to pass exams. Lithuanian literature exam is mandatory for all students. You need to pass 2 exams to graduate and get a high school diploma and 3 exams to get into university. However, almost all of the students are taking from 4 to 6 exams.

We also have 3 holidays during school years. 1 week at the end of October, 2 weeks during Christmas and 1 week during Easter. We star our summer holidays at the beginning of June. Smaller kids, like elementary school students have more holidays, for example 3 weeks during Christmas instead of 2, bonus week of holidays in Spring after or before Easter (depends when the Easter celebration is that year) and so forth.

But enough of boring information, let’s go shopping! Disclaimer: I am not trying to show off, actually all of these clothes were bought on sale and I hope that this post will show that you can buy some great stuff even if you are on a tight budget.

Kaunas city shops:

iPhone cases form tiger for 2.90 euros: 1. One with colorful dots 2. One that looks like a tire

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(You need to protect your iPhone at all times, especially at school. You can easily knock it off the table or it can break inside your bag full of hard-cover books).

RESERVED: Grey sweatshirt with white mesh– 8.69 euros

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Cropptown:

Sleeveless t-shirt with LA -5.21 euros

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College t-shirt white/blue – 5.21 euros

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Charm bracelet with letters – 2.60 euros

Pink/golden/white bracelets (pack of 6) – 3.76 euros

Light blue/white/golden bracelets (pack of 5) -3.76 euros

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NewYorker: Necklace with infinity sign– 2.87 euros

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APRANGA: classical black trousers – 27 euros

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MOHITO: one button black jacket with golden details at the shoulders – 27 euros

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Vilnius city shops:

H&M: 

Blouse – 14.95 euros

haul

Golden slim Rings (pack of 17) – 4.99 euros

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Bijou Brigitte: Pack of 3 square rings – 2.60 euros

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Peek & Cloppenburg: Black sweater – 11.60 euros (They forgot to take the security thing off)

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Forever 18:

Rose-gold necklace – 2.90 euros

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White see-through sweater – 5.79 euros

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Other bits and pieces:

Self-explanatory huge eraser from tiger

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Fluffy pouch for pencils (2nd year using it) from local supermarket

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Notebook with NY and London from my local supermarket

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(Sorry, can’t remember any prices)

Links for shops:

http://www.tigerstores.co.uk/

http://www.reserved.com/pl/en/

http://www.cropp.com/

https://www.newyorker.de/lt/fashion-lifestyle/

http://www.apranga.lt/index.php?lang=2

http://www.mohito.com/pl/en/

http://www.hm.com/

http://www.bijou-brigitte.com/

http://www.peek-cloppenburg.com/en/homepage

http://www.forever18.de/collection_details.php?cat=none

So, as you can see, I am fully stocked on sweaters and sweatshirts at least for autumn.

I hope that this post helped you to find some sales in your local shops or maybe gave some style/clothing inspiration. Bye!