The first film I watched at the theatre this year was Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2017). It is in my list of favorite films of 2016 (it opened in select theatres on Christmas Day and nationwide on January 6).* The sports inspirational can be a sub-genre of the biopic, can the science inspirational be one too? I don’t remember the last time I watched a movie where the audience clapped when the ending credits began.
It’s obvious that the film wants to inspire and bring to light a part of history that many of us may otherwise not have known about, but Hidden Figures also reminds the viewers about the social norms of the times without being too cynical or overly tense. Archival footage and newsreels serve to ground the film in its historical context while the wardrobe, the set design and the acting highlight the vibrancy and tenacity of smart women who weren’t timid.
A more sobering message, though, is that talent and genius still requires advocates and guides to flourish. In a Subject-Other/Dominant-Subordinate dynamic, without the support of those with the authority or clout, all the hard work and good manners of the Other wouldn’t get a chance to prove its value. Even when you’re confident without being arrogant and absolutely deserving of an opportunity (or reward), when was the last time you succeeded in your goal or reached the next outpost without assistance?
In other news, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons had a roll around the gridiron at the Georgia Dome today (the 199th and final regular season game here). I started watching the game a minute into the fourth quarter — the Falcons were way up with points to the Saints’ 13. By the bottom of the quarter with less than a minute left in the game, the Saints had decreased that score difference substantially. Falcons 38 and Saints 32. Final score. Get game summary, stats and play-by-play here.