Fences

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Denzel’s newest film is an adaptation of a 1983 play by the same name written by August Wilson.  It takes place in the 1950s- right after World War II.  This has a direct impact on the lives of our main star, Denzel’s Troy Maxson and his family.  I’ll get into that later.

The story follows Troy as he tries to make a living and survive.  His character often tells tales that his wife Rose (Viola Davis) often prove to be partial-truths.  We find out a lot about Troy as the film goes.  We find that he had a son, Lyons (Russell Hornsby) before he married Rose, but had no contact with him.  We later find out why.  We find out that his and Rose’s son Cory (Jovan Adepo) is a big deal in high school football and is good enough to have recruiters interested.

We see Troy struggle with the difficulties of his past coming to haunt him at the time of the film.  He constantly mentions having wrestled death, and gives different accounts of the story on different occasions.  We hear the real story some ways into the movie and it is chilling.  We learn about his past and his relationship with his dad.  It is chilling.  We hear about his relationship with his brother, Gabe (Mykelti Williamson) and it is humbling.  We hear about how he met Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and it is both heartwarming and chilling.  Throughout the film, we get to know the man he was, we see the man he is, and we hear about the man he becomes.  We see his strained relationship with his sons, Lyons and Cory.  Cory ultimately leaves home because of it.  The second half of the film, we see the strained relationship between Rose and Troy.

However, the seemingly most depressing and yet heart warming relationship in this entire story is that between Troy and Gabe.  Gabe is a war veteran who came back with brain trauma.  A lot of the movie focuses on this relationship, both subtly and explicitly.  Gabe carries a trumpet with him everywhere he goes so that he can play it for the Gates of Heaven to be open when the time is right.  He chases hell hounds.  He thinks Troy is mad at him.  He barely eats.  He sells fruits and vegetables out of a picnic basket.

I’m not gonna go into anything in the last 30 minutes, not one detail.  But they are, probably, 30 of the best minutes of film of any of the 2017 Best Picture Nominees.

Fences is the story of a a flawed man trying to be perfect.  He builds his wife a fence.  Bono tells him “some people build fences to keep people out, others build them to keep people in” (I’m not sure if that’s word for word, but it’s close.)  He explains that Rose wants to keep the family safe.  This fence is a long time coming, and takes the duration of the movie.  There are alternate meanings behind the title, but this is a good premise.

This movie is a fantastic piece of art detailing the struggles and successes of one man, and his family in an era that was not equal or just to them.

9.1/10

 

 

Hacksaw Ridge

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Let me start with this huge praise.  This is the best war film since Saving Private Ryan.  Perhaps even better than Saving Private Ryan.

This film follows the story of real life war hero, Desmond Doss.  Doss received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the story that inspired the film, so this movie had a lot to live up to.  And it delivered.

In his film, Director Mel Gibson immerses the audience in the life of Desmond Doss.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  We see his happiness.  We see his sadness.  We feel his struggle. We feel his pain.  We feel his pride.  I personally found myself speechless upon leaving the theater after the flood of emotions that I was exposed to during viewing this film.

We see him and his brother bonding growing up.  We see them as grown men going to war separately.  We see Desmond fall in love with a young nurse.  We see him get tormented during training for his refusal to touch a rifle.  We see him get beaten and bruised and stand strong and take it.  He does this because he wants to serve.  We see him stand up for his beliefs when everything is stacked against him.  We see his bravery on and off the field of combat.  During his Court Martial hearing for refusing to pick up a rifle, he delivers a powerful speech about his reason for wanting to serve.

This film does not shy away from the blood and gore.  You can see blown out brains, intestines spewed about the ground, arms and legs hanging off the rest of the body.  Faces blown half off.  If you can think of an injury that is a result of war, chances are you see it.  But the gore is a factor in making this film beautiful.  Not because gore is great.  But because even in the face of all of that gore, Doss never gives up.  When the rest of his unit retreats, he pushes forward as a combat medic.  He saves life after life with no support.  He finally gets himself to safety and the shock sets in, but only briefly.  He displays more bravery than any other person in their unit, as described by several people.  They win the battle for Hacksaw Ridge because of his courage and bravery in the face of adversity.

He does all of this never firing a weapon once during training or on the battlefield.  In fact, the only time he touches a gun after starting training is to use it to save a life, but not by firing it.

“Please God, help me get one more.”  His faith helps him save person after person after person.  He doesn’t stop because he is tired.  He doesn’t stop because he is weak.  He only stops when he has no other choice.  He runs into mortar fire to save lives.  He inspired the unit and saved so many lives.

The emotions felt during this film start at the start and don’t stop until well after you get home from the movie.  I still have goosebumps.

9.7/10

Moonlight

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Moonlight is a story of drugs, sexuality and coming to grips with your own personality.  It follows three stages in the life of Chiron.  During the first stage, we see him as a young boy “Little” struggling with his mom’s habits and also finding unconditional love with a drug dealer, Juan portrayed by Mahershala Ali and his girlfriend Teresa, portrayed by Janelle Monae.  The second stage shows him as a teen going by his given name of Chiron, still struggling with his mother’s drug use as well as with who he is.  He and his best friend connect and have falling outs.  The third stage is him as an adult “Black.”  We see him as a drug dealer.  We see him coming to grips with his relationship with his mom.  We see him still dealing with her drug use, but in a different way, as he is an adult now.  We see him still struggle with himself.

Moonlight’s 3 main actors, Alex Hibbert who plays “Little,” Ashton Sanders as “Chiron,” and Trevante Rhodes as “Black” are all phenomenal in their portrayals.  I’ll discuss them later.  We get to see the growth-no birth- of Chiron and his evolution into adulthood and the various ways he learns to cope with a world that is against him.  The tagline on the poster says it all.  This is the story of a lifetime.  A story that can be hard to swallow.  This is the story of a boy, becoming a man, but still feeling lost.  This is a story about a journey to find one’s self.

I recently had the good fortune to listen to a NPR interview with Director Barry Jenkins and the writer of the play this film was adapted from: Tarell Alvin McCraneyMoonlight Black Boys Look Blue.  That NPR story sheds light on the reality of this film.  I have not had the fortune to see or read the play.  But this story really does follow the real life story of people who were alive in that area of Miami at that time.  Both the director and playwright mentioned that parts of this story follow their shared experiences simply as someone growing up there, and there were a few experiences that were exclusively Tarell’s.  Walking into this film knowing that the crew and cast weren’t blind to the issues surrounding the film really helped sell it to me.

Alex Hibbert’s film debut was nothing short of inspiring.  He portrays shy “Little” Chiron and he really shows the emotions of the character.  Since his character does not talk much, we rely heavily on body language to interpret his character.  Man, does he sell it.  He grew up in another area of Miami that was not quite as bad as the films area, Liberty City, but it still was not good.  We see his Chiron bonding, quickly, with local drug lord Juan, who shows genuine concern for the boy’s well-being, even confronting his mother about her drug use habits..  Perhaps they both feel like outsiders, perhaps Chiron reminds Juan of himself when he was little.  We don’t know.  We can speculate that it’s a little of both.  They become friends fast and they become inseparable.

Ashton Sanders has perhaps the most difficult role as Chiron.  A teenager unsure of where he fits in.  Unsure of who he is.  At this age, he has lost his mentor, and his mom is seemingly worse into drugs than she was when he was “Little.”  Perhaps one of the most iconic scenes, if not the most iconic scene in the entire movie takes place during this part of his growth.  “You’re my son.  Mine.  And tell that little b*tch Teresa not to forget it.”  This scene is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes of any movie in 2016.  We see the internal struggle to find himself and to find people who care about him.

The last Chiron we see goes by “Black,” a nod to his best friend from his days as “Little” and “Chiron.”  We see him now running the streets of Atlanta.  We see him being the same person that his mentor Juan was.  We see him struggle with his mother’s addictions in a different way that we’ve seen before.  And we see him finally understanding why he has been so lonely.

Best supporting actress Naomie Harris plays Chiron’s mother, Paula.  She does a fantastic job in a role she was initially hesitant about.  She didn’t want to play a stereotyped woman.  However, as I mentioned earlier, she delivers one of the best performances of any movie in 2016.  She struggles with her own inner demons and still showing that she cares for Chiron.  She struggles in showing him that she cares.

Everything about this movie was spectacular.  From the acting, to the screenwriting to the score.

I give this movie a 9.4/10.

Resident Evil: The Final(?) Chapter

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Good News:  If you like the Resident Evil Film Franchise, this one’s for you.  No doubt.

Bad News:  If you don’t like or are indifferent about the Resident Evil Film Franchise, this one isn’t for you.

Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter return as Alice and Claire Redfield, respectively.  The film opens in DC as we find Alice, not surprisingly, surviving the betrayal by Wesker.  We see her emerge from rubble and almost immediately the action begins with a scene from the trailers.  We see the Red Queen talking to Alice.  A throwback to the original film.  Alice has no choice but to trust her this time around.  Alice races back to where it all began.  Raccoon City.  We see her limping with a broken leg (you can hear it crack) and when she needs it to work, guess what, it’s just fine.  Typical giving the protagonist a fully healed body in time for the major action.  Well that about sets up the rest of the movie, so I’m gonna stop my plot summary there.

Okay, maybe one more detail.  This time, the protagonists are looking for an airborne antivirus at the heart of Raccoon City.

Now, the action in this film can seem to be over the top.  It can seem to be ridiculous, and it can seem to be cheesy.  All of this is true.  But that is EXACTLY what you would expect and want from a Resident Evil film.  There are some twists which make this film different from previous ones, but overall this movie is exactly what fans want and what opponents expect.  It’s got action, blood and gore galore.

Alice and Claire together again with a new team.  Alice quickly takes charge.  The end.

Sound Editing is good.  It’s nothing to gloat about, but it isn’t terrible.  It’s neutral.  The acting in the film is slightly above par, with a couple exceptions. (Specifically, Jovovich and Iain Glen in his portrayal of Dr. Isaacs.)

In summary: Over the top action, cool visual effects, and barely-better-than-average acting are all well and good in this, as it is what you would come to expect.

6.1/10

 

Jackie

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Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy (Onassis-but not at time of film) is nothing short of perfection.  The film follows Jackie Kennedy immediately following the death of the President, John “Jack” F. Kennedy (Casper Phillipson).  We see the Mrs. Kennedy the nation has  grown to know.  Despite the trauma she went through, we see a poised, graceful Jackie.  We see the fashion icon Jackie.  We see the Jackie that loved her husband, despite his faults.  In her grief, we see a distraught Jackie planning the funeral for the President that was watched by every American “from beginning to end.”  We see her being strong for her children and the public.  Behind closed doors we see her weep.  From time to time, the film cuts to actual footage of the historic event in which the First Lady brought America into the White House on television.  It also shows Portman portraying some of the same scenes from that broadcast.

Portman really shows her ability to get into a role in this biopic.  She seemingly fits into this role beautifully. If you knew nothing about Jackie Kennedy, and only went on footage in the film, you could think they were twins.  She nails the accent. The walk.  She nails the poise and dignity.  She even looks a like her, to a high degree.  She-at the very least makes the audience think that she-feels the emotions she is portraying.  Her voice quivers, her lips tremble.  At first, it seems like she might be trying too hard, but then you realize that Jackie Kennedy spoke the same way.  However, this film would not be the magnificent film it was if it weren’t for the score by Mica Levi.  The music in this film is what ties Portman’s performance to the feelings of the audience.  You really become immersed in the emotions during the planning of the funeral.  During her recollection of the day he was shot.  During her conversations with John Hurt’s priest.  Without the appropriately timed music to accompany the scenes, this film would be average.  The camera angles seemed to be very repetitive.  Mostly close ups of the First Lady when it was just her and mostly wide angle shots if there was even just one other person in the scene, sitting next to her.

Overall, the film does a beautiful job of portraying the days after the nation lost a president, or in the words of the journalist, portrayed by Billy Crudup: “Losing a president is like losing a father.”  The film does a fantastic job of showing the strong, brave side of Jackie Kennedy that America is not used to seeing, but we all know exists.

“Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.”

8.4/10

20th Century Women

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Picture your idea of a dysfunctional family.  Okay.  Got it?  This film follows the hard times of RJ Berger.   OKAY not REALLY.  But it does follow the growing up (coming of age) of Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann).  It revolves around his life, as well as the lives of his mother, Dorothea (Annette Benning), his best friend Julie (Elle Fanning), and two live in tenants William (Billy Crudup) and Abbie (Greta Gerwig).

The film follows their story from 1979.  The relationships in this film are unique.  Dorothea recruits Julie and Abbie to help parent Jamie as she is struggling to be both the mother and the father.

Dorothea is an elusively complex character.  She is careful not to disclose to much information about her life to the other characters or to the audience.  She is seemingly stuck in her ways of her life growing up during the Depression, at least according to Jamie

Jamie loves Julie, and she loves him back, but not in the way that he wants.  More of a sibling type of love.  Julie enjoys sleeping around, but makes it a point again and again and again that she could never sleep with Jamie.  They talk about everything that’s bugging both of them.  They help each other with problems.

Abbie loves him like a younger brother also.  She “shares [her] life with” Jamie.  They become friends.  She starts to give him advice like an older sibling would.  She teaches him how men should treat women.  Abbie is sick.  Jamie and his mother do their best for her.

William tries to befriend Jamie.  He tries to be the male figure for Jamie.  But they just can’t seem to mesh.  William and Dorothea, however do connect and ultimately, he helps her to loosen up.  She, in turn, helps him with self worth.

Despite the fact that the only people in this family that are related are Dorothea and Jamie, they function like a family.  A highly dysfunctional family.  A weird, crazy, over the top, happy, loving family.  They sometimes don’t get along.  But they show their love and care for each other all the time.  If you let yourself fully be immersed in the film, you can feel the love.  It is tangible.  It is tantalizing.

The relationships are what make this movie fantastic.  While it has a great story line, it can seem to stray from any plot or sub-story arc.  However, even when this happens, the film remains entertaining and worth-while.  It’s for that reason that it gets to keep a good score.  But not perfect.

 

I give this film a 9.1/10

Lion

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First off, this is based on the incredible story of Saroo Brierly (played by Dev Patel as an adult and Sunny Pawar as a child.  For the purpose of this review, I will use actor names for Saroo.  Saroo is a little boy born in “Ganetalay” who idolized his older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate). The film opens with Pawar standing in a field of butterflies.  We see his brother Guddu come calling to him and they jump aboard a train and steal coal, which they trade for milk.  From there, we see the two go home.  After that is where Saroo’s story really begins.  Lion is about a boy who gets lost.  We see the struggle in his life and in his eyes.  We see the pain he feels, and the joy he experiences.  This film does a great job of connecting its audiences to the story behind this boy.  In fact, the audience I was with kept whispering (most did so under their breath) validating and empathetic statements, myself included.  We spend…I’d say about half the movie following Pawar’s Saroo exclusively.  If you don’t at least have the feeling of sadness course through you at some point during this part, then I don’t know what to say.

He boards an out-of-service train to Bengal and remains lost there for some time.  He gets adopted by Australian parents, John and Sue Brierly (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman respectively).  He quickly grows to love them and call them Mom and dad.  They adopt a brother for him.  We then see it fast forward to Dev Patel’s Saroo.  We see him going off to school and falling in love, immediately, with Rooney Mara’s Lucy.  That’s when the search for his biological family begins.

The scenes in modern times do a fantastic job of telling Saroo’s story.  It shows the audience his hurt and anguish.  It provides the audience with the chance to connect, again, with our beloved Saroo.  Because, honestly, if you don’t feel for his character by now, I don’t know what to tell you.  This entire movie is a gut-wrenching roller coaster.  We see pain and hope.  Pain and hope. Love and pain.  Near the end of the film, however, we start to see the pain that Saroo is going through seemingly become an advertisement for Google.  I respect that he was able to use Google to find his family, but it almost seemed to be too overt.

Ultimately, this is a great film, but it is lacking near the end.  8.1/10

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

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Xander Cage is back.  In a film which has many “Official” Reviews split straight down the middle, Vin Diesel returns as the original xXx, Xander Cage.  Nearly 15 years after he disappeared after the first movie, I repeat my first statement.  Xander Cage is back.  And, he’s…well I can’t say he’s better than ever, but he is the same as ever.  This film is a guilty pleasure of mine.  I love every second of all 3 of the xXx movies so far.  However, that doesn’t remove the fact that the films are cheesy.  This one is no exception.  We’ve seen all of the crazy stunts in this movie performed before.  And done better.  A lot of them done by Diesel himself.  Nina Dobrev plays a spunky, horny tech specialist named Becky.  Like seemingly every other woman in the xXx world, she is crazy about Xander Cage.  I mentioned she was horny right?  She comes on super hard to Xander at the first meeting.  She blushes at a joke that Ruby Rose’s character, Adele makes.  She makes cool tools, like a signal jammer (of course an action flick has one)

Adele is a sniper.  Never misses, no matter how impossible the shot seems.  Naturally.  No biggie right?  Watch the film.  You’ll see what I mean.  Her character is a welcome relief, however, in that she seemingly does not want to have sex with Xander.  In fact, she seems like a genuine friend.  Of course our hero will be friends with the best sniper this side of Mars.

His other friends include a stunt driver who holds the Unofficial World Record for most crashes and a DJ who is just “fun to have around.”  We find this ragtag bunch trying to track down a device known as Pandora’s Box.  Ominous, I know.  Of course it’s ominous.  It’s a device that could- yup, you guessed it- END THE WORLD.  They’re trying to retrieve it from a group led by Donnie Yen’s Xiang.  The group includes Deepika Padukone’s Serena, Michael Bisping’s Hawk, and Tony Jaa’s Talon.  All of them seem skilled in some form of combat- from hand to hand to knife play to gunplay.  We find that the two leaders of this group have very different plans for what to do with the Box and it actually causes tension between Serena, Xiang, and Xander. Naturally.  If you’ve seen the trailers, you see them playing hot potato.  That’s over the device.  Or, what they think is the device.  Turns out, it was just a prototype.  Typical.  They spend the rest of the movie trying to race for the real one.

 

Back to Xander.  He’s a wannabe James Bond.  Witty banter, one liners, and women.  Lots and lots of women.  Oh and Becky.  He has a tech expert.  This entire film is like if Point Break tried to be James Bond.

You don’t go into this expecting the greatest acting or even the greatest lines.  You go into it expecting some kick-ass action.  You go in expecting “guns, girls, [and] global domination.” You get what you expect.

However, with that said, the cast of this film was lined with big names. Padukone is a rising name in Bollywood.  Yen, he’s a rising star in kung fu/action films, most recently “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me,” and perhaps most famously, he portrays the titular character in Ip Man, and Diesel is…well Vin Diesel.  Yet, the acting seemed to be sub-par.  The lines seem to be stretched.

With that said,

I give this film a 4.1/10.

(Though, I love it as a guilty pleasure and would strongly recommend it if you liked the first two.  Or if you just want a solid hour and 47 minutes of ridiculousness.)

 

La La Land

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Damien Chazelle’s newest film is nothing short of extraordinary.  First off, I want to preface this by stating an opinion.  There is no genre of film that depends on the chemistry of the main cast more than a musical.  Every motion, every verse, every smile and frown can make or break a musical.  You can do as many takes as you want, but if they don’t have it, they don’t have it.

It opens in a scene which many city dwellers know and nearly anyone would find frustrating.  It opens in traffic in Los Angeles.  Yikes.  Yet, somehow, someone manages to find beauty in the situation which allows them to start the first song, which does not feature our two main characters.

This film pays homage to many classic films.  Mia (Emma Stone) works across the street from the window from Casablanca.  Mia and Seb (Ryan Gosling) go to a screening of Rebel without a Cause and even go to visit one of the iconic places from the film.  Both Mia and Seb have made allusions to and have resembled Singin’ in the Rain.  “Someone in the Crowd” is very similar to “There’s Gotta be Something Better than This” from Sweet Charity

We first meet our fledgling duo at the end of the first song, which takes place in traffic.  It’s…anger at first sight.  Classic love story.  Our next appearance of both parties is at the restaurant that Sebastian-Seb for short is working at as a piano player.  He literally gives Mia the cold shoulder.  Our next visit with them we get to see their attraction start to bloom.  Chazelle wanted the couple to fall in love through song and dance, as it was in older musicals.  The backdrop for this wonderful occurence is the city off in the distance and stars in the sky.

Mia is a hopeful actress trying to make it big in Hollywood.  Seb is an aspiring Jazz club owner with phenomenal piano skills.  He believes in the purity of jazz.  Which makes his decision later in the film to join a “modern” jazz band all the more hurtful for Mia.  Seb is also very cynical, especially at the beginning of the movie.  “Hollywood worships everything and values nothing.”

 

Emma Stone plays Emma Stone in this movie.  I’ve watched her interviews and late night appearances.  She seems to move through the scenes with a grace and sophistication that imitates her personality.  If there were one character that the audience could see in themselves, it would be her.  Her auditions are nothing short of pure joy for the audience.  Funny, sad, awkward, strong.  In each of her auditions we see something that can represent us.  Emma Stone probably didn’t need to do much short of choreography and line memorization for this role.  She seemed to fit into this role seamlessly.

Ryan Gosling offers a strong performance of the caring, yet hurting personality of Seb.  His ability to play the piano (I confirmed on 4 different sites, and it is him) is nothing short of dazzling.  He performs with such style that it is almost hard to believe that it isn’t a body double.  Even harder still is that he learned to play piano that well in THREE MONTHS just for the film.  On top of that, he LOVED every second of learning.  Now that is some role prep.

On top of their individual performances, the on screen chemistry with these two performers has only gotten better and better and better ever since their first project together with Crazy, Stupid Love.  It helps that these two have become great friends off screen throughout the process of them filming three movies together in Crazy, Stupid Love and Gangster Squad.  These two love to poke fun at each other off screen and praise each other.  This mutual love and respect can be felt by their on-screen performances.  I’m sure it is the same way off screen, but on-screen we see Seb and Mia pushing each other to follow their dreams and to be the best they can be.

Overall, the story is a wonderful piece full of ups and downs, twists and turns.  The final scene of the movie is captivating, to say the least, and had the audience I was in wondering.  The songs are catchy and are reminiscent of older musicals.

If you enjoy musicals, or quirky characters or a fun, yet serious plotline, this is your movie.

I give this film a 9.4/10

Hidden Figures

Theodore Melfi’s newest film, Hidden Figures is an intricate story of oppression and greatness in the black female community.  The story opens with Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe respectively) stalled on the side of a road trying to get to work.  We see a flashback showing how smart Katherine has always been as Dorothy is trying to get the car running while Mary is just hanging out.  While they’re trying to get it running, a white police officer comes around and questions them.  Once he finds out that they work for NASA and are trying to help get the US to space before the Russians, he offers to help them and to escort them to NASA.  “3 negro women are  chasing a police officer down the highway in 1961.  That is a god-ordained miracle”  Upon arrival at NASA we fully realize Mary’s talent for engineering as she is selected for permanent placement with the engineers working on the heat shields for an upcoming launch.  We see Dorothy as the unofficial supervisor of the “colored computers.”  We see her fight for Katherine to be a part of the team working on trajectories.  When Katherine gets to the Space Task Group, she is greeted by awkward stares so palpable that the audience can almost feel.  Instantly, she is shown disrespect by everyone in the office except head honcho, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner).  As the film goes on, treatment of Katherine slowly becomes less volatile, with the exception of one person, who continues to treat her poorly.  Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) seems to stay stuck in the segregated ways of thinking even when the rest of the office has started to respect Katherine.  John Glen (Glen Powell) even respects her.  Speaking of Glen, when we first see him, he is the only one of the military men to come over to meet the “colored” group, even after being told that he had already met everyone before them.  He is shown to be a compassionate person throughout the film and it is a fine way to honor a man who had passed right before the film premiered.

As the movie goes on, we see our three protagonists earning the respect of their peers.  We see them going above and beyond, and proving themselves elegantly to the point that they are beyond reproach.  Each of them has at least one very powerful scene that shapes the rest of the movie and the rest of NASA.  I can’t go into more detail about those, but you’ll know them when you see them.

This is not just a film about equality in the workplace.  To say it is would be a gross misunderstanding of the life that the 3 women that this film gets its story from and people like them.  While yes, on its surface this seems to be mostly about workplace advancement, it is so much more than that.  This film speaks to the social injustices that were faced by the black community as a whole in the 1960s, but moreso, it tackles concerns that are still faced today.  It addresses segregation of black and white as well as women’s rights.  In NASA, it is more clearly a segregation of the skin colors.  Outside, however, we see an equal amount of both.  Even in the black community, we see some condescending behaviors by men about women.  Outside the black community, we see more segregation than men vs women.  The water fountains, the schools, everything in there town is still segregated.  Seemingly, the only thing that can bring everyone together is the space launches.  We can see men and women, white and black gather around a TV in a store window to observe one of the space launches.  This film explores the ability to unite behind a single banner.

This film explores the evolution of a specific work place.  We see it develop from a segregated workplace to a fully functioning united workplace.  This film shows the beauty of working together.  It is a fantastic representation of the lives of the 3 main characters.

This film succeeds where some other true-life films could not.  It engages the audiences feelings and compassion.  It touches the hearts of the viewers.  It manages to address the concerns of the people portrayed in the film in a serious-but-lighthearted-manner.

The storylines of this film are wonderfully fulfilling.  Every turn, every dip and bend.  Every laugh and tear.  Everything can be felt if the viewer really gets into the film.  If you let yourself be immersed in this film, you will thoroughly enjoy it.  You’ll walk out of the theater feeling empowered.  9.0/10

 

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