HIDDEN FIGURES (2016) – My rating: 9.3/10

hiddenfiguresHidden Figures is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.  Based on true events, Hidden Figures reveals history about the United States space program we knew very little about.  I was shocked to know that Black women participated in the launching of the first US astronaut orbiting the earth, in space or that they contributed in any way to launching the first man on the moon.  The trials and tribulations they went through broke my heart.  This movie tells a story of profound contributions made by three highly educated master minds, toward the space race between the USA and the USSR to gain control during the space age in order to achieve peace, respect and privilege as the front runner and leader, as a nation.  The film recounts the story of three African-American women who worked in professional positions at NASA and helped the United States advance during the Space Race.

Mathematician Katherine Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, worked in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The film focuses on Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), who is the African-American mathematician who participated in calculating flight trajectories for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon.  Using these calculations, NASA supported John Glenn in becoming the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of Earth. The film also features Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), a colleague and mathematician specializing in flight paths, the Scout Project, and FORTRAN computer programming.  Dorothy was also the first Black woman to become a supervisor at a time when racism and Jim Crow laws were at it’s worst.  Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe),  also a colleague and mathematician at NASA, worked to analyze data from wind tunnel experiments and real-world aircraft flight experiments at the Theoretical Aerodynamics Branch of the Subsonic-Transonic Aerodynamics Division at Langley.  She ultimately authored or co-authored 12 technical papers for NACA and NASA.

Al Harrison, (Kevin Costner) is the director of the Space Task Group who Katherine reported to but was told not to get close with. Any positive changes that were made, came from Harrison who was brilliantly played by Costner.  Vivian Mitchell, (Kirsten Dunst) delivered orders to Dorothy and the 30 Black women Dorothy supervised and trained.  Paul Stafford, (Jim Parsons) was the head programmer under Al Harrison and like everyone else, against women and Blacks being present in the program.  John Glen (Glen Powell) The first astronaut to obit the earth and obviously a charismatic man who appeared to be non-racist.  Colonel Jim Johnson, (Mahershala Ali) married Katherine who was a widow, taking on her three children from her first marriage.

Hidden Figures is at times, very emotional but a wake up call for those who could never imagine what it was like to be treated the way Blacks were treated for no reason other than being Black.  Hate is a terrible thing and a terrible waste of energy.  I was happy to see credit given to these women who achieved so much and contributed so much.  If there is no mention of these women in taught in Black history, there should be and if you haven’t seen this movie, you should because it’s truly a great one.  The story is spot on and the acting is outstanding.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Oscar nod or two come out of this film.

[HIDDEN FIGURES is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Writing Adapted Screenplay]

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