Taraji P. Henson Gives 'Performance of a Lifetime'

Critics say 'Hidden Figures' is 'dazzling'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2017 12:27 PM CST

After a limited release, Hidden Figures is hitting theaters nationwide to tell the tale of three black female mathematicians (played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe) breaking barriers at NASA in the 1960s. Based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film has a 92% rating from critics and audiences alike on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what critics are saying:

  • Think a movie about math problems must be a drag? Not in this case, writes Stephanie Zacharek at Time, calling Hidden Figures "both a dazzling piece of entertainment and a window into history." She adds "Henson, Spencer and Monáe all give superb, luminous performances: watching them is pure pleasure."
  • Amy Nicholson points out the "candied history" in a movie that's "too eager to please. Yet at the end, I found myself tearing up anyway," she writes at MTV, noting the focus "on people, not numbers or policies or platitudes." She applauds the film's ability to depict "unspoken tension" and its use of wardrobe to make the women "as out-of-place in the frame as they were in reality."

  • Leah Greenblatt agrees "director Theodore Melfi tends to paint too much in the broad, amiable strokes of a triumph-of-the-week TV movie." But he "can't dim the sheer magnetic pull of an extraordinary story," she writes at Entertainment Weekly. She praises all three stars, but particularly Monáe. "In only her second major screen role after Moonlight, she fairly glows with life force."
  • "Spencer and Monae deliver beautiful, strong, immensely effective, nomination-worthy supporting performances," but Henson "disappears" into her character and "delivers the performance of a lifetime," writes Richard Roeper at the Chicago Sun-Times. The fact that the "wonderfully inspirational" Hidden Figures is "borderline corny" didn't hurt the film in his eyes: He gave it 3.5 stars out of four.
(More movie review stories.)

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