Watch Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
- 15 min
Hidden Figures is a historical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and released in 2016 that is based on the non-fiction book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly. The movie tells the story of four black women who made significant contributions to the success of NASA's space race in the 1960s. The movie stars Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle MonÃ¡e, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons.
The story is set in Virginia in 1961, at the height of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The movie follows the lives of three African American women who worked at NASA's Langley Research Center: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), a math genius who calculated flight trajectories for the Mercury program and other pioneering projects; Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), a mathematician and computer programmer who became the first African American supervisor at the center; and Mary Jackson (Janelle MonÃ¡e), a mathematician and engineer who broke barriers as the first African American woman to become an aerospace engineer at NASA.
The movie begins with the three women on their way to work at Langley, where they are forced to use separate restrooms and are subjected to various forms of discrimination because of their race and gender. However, all three women are determined to succeed and make the most of the opportunities available to them. They each face unique challenges in the workplace, such as Katherine being assigned to a team of white male engineers who are initially dismissive of her abilities.
As the Space Race heats up, NASA's engineers are faced with a daunting task: to put John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit around the Earth. With time running out, Katherine is called upon to use her mathematical expertise to check and verify the calculations made by the male engineers. Despite the challenges she faces, she rises to the occasion and makes critical contributions to the mission's success.
Throughout the movie, the challenges faced by the characters are not just related to their work but also to their personal lives. Dorothy, for example, is worried about losing her job due to the advent of machines that can perform the work of human "computers." However, she uses her initiative and resourcefulness to teach herself and her colleagues how to program the new machines, thus securing her position at the center. Mary, meanwhile, is dealing with the limitations placed on her as a black woman in a male-dominated field. She decides to fight these limitations by petitioning to take classes at an all-white school in order to obtain an engineering degree.
The movie does a great job of highlighting the contributions of these brilliant women, who have largely been overlooked by history. It shows how they broke down barriers and overcame discrimination to make significant contributions to the space program. It is also notable for showcasing the role of African American women in the Civil Rights Movement and their determination to succeed against all odds.
The performances in the movie are excellent, with Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle MonÃ¡e delivering powerful performances that showcase the tenacity and resilience of the women they portray. Kevin Costner is also noteworthy in his role as Al Harrison, the head of the Space Task Group, who is initially unaware of the barriers faced by the women working for him but gradually becomes aware of the discrimination and takes steps to address it.
Overall, Hidden Figures is an inspiring and uplifting movie that sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history. It celebrates the resilience, talent, and determination of three women who helped change the course of the space race and paved the way for future generations of women and people of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race is a 2021 family movie with a runtime of 15 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 9.0.