Hidden Figures, about 3 black women at NASA in the 1960s, is the best kind of historical drama

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect film for the holiday season than Hidden Figures: an inspirational, family-friendly historical drama about three black women whose work at NASA was instrumental in putting John Glenn into orbit around Earth.

That could have been the recipe for a much hokier film, but the story — based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly — is just Hollywood enough to stay entertaining, but smart enough to know how important its story is. Director Theodore Melfi (St. Vincentsticks to every convention of the genre, but sometimes conventions are there for a reason. The story works, and the characters shine. (Pharrell Williams executive-produced the movie and supervised its soundtrack, which also helps account for its overall buoyancy.)

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