Hidden Figures: uplifting

Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures is an inspiring movie, reconstructing the true story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), three black female mathematicians who were employed by  the National Aeronautics and Space Administration  (NASA) to work on the calculations  that would help astronaut John Glenn and his crew make their way into space.  

Katherine, the protagonist in the film, calculates flight trajectories with her colleagues, Mary Jackson, an inspiring engineer, and Dorothy Vaughan, the unofficial supervisor of the West Area Computers Division.

Hidden way in the colored section of Langley Research center, the women work hard to prove that they are capable, worthy, and important members of the NASA team.

The saddening, yet uplifting movie presents as a powerful narrative about the lives of determined, professional, and smart African-American women during the segregation-era.

Throughout the movie the three women face discrimination in both their personal and professional lives. For example, at NASA the trio has to deal with segregated bathrooms and segregated  work rooms.

The women also deal with sexism from their loved ones and society because they do not believe that they have the knowledge to be working at NASA.

The women were all strong women who are a prominent part of American history. Mary Jackson, one of the film’s main characters was NASA’s first black female engineer, Dorothy Vaughn was NASA’s first black manager, and Katherine Johnson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

These women have paved the path for many women of color to become respected professionals.

The critically acclaimed movie, based on the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly, won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and received a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hidden Figures is often compared to other films about black history that have been released in the past decade, like Jeff Nichols’ Loving and Lee Daniel’s The Butler, that have similar themes.

Personally, I believe that many people of all ages should watch this film due to the fact that racism in the U.S. against black Americans is a disturbing, yet important part of history.

While watching the film, I was able to notice correlations between events involving racism and sexism in the film with events that occur today, such as the assumption that women cannot accomplish the same thing that men do and discrimination against people of color in the workforce.  

This movie is an eye-opener for anyone who is truly interested in learning about the hardships that black women faced in 1960’s America and that  many still face today.