The concept behind this film really intrigued me and it intrigued me, even more, when it won the SAG Award for best cast in a motion picture as I expected La La Land to win. Yet, I really enjoyed everything about this film, and I was really pleased that after watching it I learned something. I learned more about these hidden stories and how much these black women did to contribute to the space program and more about the struggle of the racial segregation during the 1960’s.
This film follows the journey of three fantastic yet forgotten women. Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) worked out the equations that plotted the trajectories of spacecraft; Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) managed the “colored computers” team and became the first black supervisor at Nasa; Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) was an aerospace engineer.
This film is interesting on so many levels, social, historical, and political. But, also for young girls, this film shows the big, fat lie that girls are not as smart as boys, that girls can’t do the math. In fact, without these brilliant black female minds, Alan Shepard wouldn’t have gotten off the ground, John Glenn wouldn’t have orbited earth and Apollo 13 might not have made it back to earth safely.
One of my favorite scenes has to be when Katherine Johnson has to explain to her boss, in front of the whole department, why she is gone from her desk 40 minutes every day. She had been running over half a mile to use the “Colored Only” bathroom. He ends that nonsense in dramatic fashion. In the middle of losing the space race to the Russians at every turn, there was simply no time for this kind of racism.
Despite its serious theme and historical focus, Hidden Figures is a feel-good film at heart and I’d easily give it 5/5 stars. It seeks to inspire rather than to criticize, and it takes liberties with the facts as well as showing how in such an environment, racism extends into every area of daily life.