There are plenty of reasons to get excited about the new historical drama Hidden Figures. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe; it’s got a soundtrack of new (but decidedly period-sounding) music by Pharrell Williams; and most importantly, it tells the sadly obscure story of three African-American NASA mathematicians whose work was a vital component of John Glenn’s orbit launch in 1962. And there’s a trailer, and it looks pretty good:
Two things to keep in mind, however:
1) Hidden Figures will hit theaters on January 13, 2017. That’s a very strange release date for a historical drama about an important subject – normally, such a film might go into wide release in January, following a December Oscar-qualifying run in, at the very least, New York and Los Angeles. And in fact, earlier this summer, the New York Times reported its makers were “already anticipating a year-end release to qualify for Oscar consideration.” So between then and now, somebody at distributor 20th Century Fox got a look at the final product, and decided it wasn’t an awards-season release. Make of that what you will.
2) Vulture notes that earlier this summer, Monáe said of the film: “It is so important, that we as women, African-American women, tell our stories.” It is so important! So is it in poor taste to note that Hidden Figures is co-written and directed by one Theodore Melfi, the white male director of St. Vincent?
Anyway. Hidden Figures is out in January.