The true story of African-American women who were critical minds at NASA in the ‘60s and well beyond feels especially timely at the end of 2016. Not just because one of those brilliant women, Katherine Johnson, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year, or because John Glenn, one the astronauts who relied on her precise mathematical calculations, recently passed. It’s a hopeful message reminding us that with acceptance, collaboration, and perseverance, especially in the face of adversity, tremendous things can be accomplished. These are the stories, and the people, that have always made America great.
A Monster Calls is a rare children’s fantasy that confronts complicated emotions head-on and doesn’t shy away from ugly sentiment. It might get heavy, but the somberness isn’t enough to make the summoning of a giant tree monster to cope with grief any more profound than standard patronizing fairytales. Though the methods of allegory are somewhat unique, the lessons learned are more edifying than inspiring.
Why Him? never answers its central question satisfactorily, nor does it justify the unfunny attempts to solve the conundrum. Much like the titular “him,” the movie is crass, obnoxious, and a chore to tolerate. Neither has any measurable redeeming qualities.