Hidden Figures tells the true story of a team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions.
If it wasn’t for one of my friends who is obsessed with space, and my love for Octavia Spencer, I wouldn’t have known about this film. It’s a film that’s hardly known amongst the other films that are over publicised yet hardly deserves the attention it gets. Hidden Figures is something that isn’t overly preachy but a film that helps the audience understand the struggles of being a minority and in the case of this film, a working woman or even a working mother in the early 60s.
Since I’d only barely heard of the film, I hadn’t had a chance to read the novel it was based upon by Margot Lee Shetterly of the same name that follows these three woman who have so much potential because of their sex and their colour. All three woman do their best with their circumstances to make progress in fulfilling their potential – Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) has been a manager of the computer section for some time though has to fight ever day for her title and pay, taking it upon herself to learn more about the newly arrived IBM computer that puts not only her job but the jobs of her co-workers at risk; and Mary (Janelle Monáe) pursues in making her contributions to NASA’s space efforts while juggling a situation of needing more of an education to become an engineer but the only nearby school offering what she needs refuses to accept black students.
Ultimately, however, this is Katherine’s (Taraji P. Henson) story. Being the most talented of mathematicians amongst the human computers that NASA has, this puts her in a difficult situation. She has to deal with the likes of Jim Parsons’ Paul Stafford, a standoffish individual who only tries to bring her down, and supervised by Kevin Costner’s Al Harrison, who is difficult at the beginning yet cools as the film progresses. It’s the little things that count as she’s forced to walk approximately twenty minutes each way to a building with the nearest coloured bathroom to drinking coffee from a coloured pot.
Hidden Figures is a thought provoking film that is told accurately and entertainingly. It’s amazing how some films you don’t feel the lengthy run time or over cluttered as you’re educated through humour and fun. It really makes you admire the strength of these women as they battled their struggles.