I am somewhat disappointed in myself.
For something that really isn’t my fault per say.
I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of the three incredible women portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures” until I started seeing the trailers in the summer.
The story behind “Hidden Figures” takes us back to 1961. Racial segregation and workplace sexism were widely accepted facts of life and the word “computer” referred to a person, not a machine. Though a gigantic IBM mainframe does appear in the movie — big enough to fill a room and probably less powerful than the phone in your pocket — the most important computers are three African-American women who work at NASA headquarters in Hampton, Va. Assigned to data entry jobs and denied recognition or promotion, they would go on to play crucial roles in the American space program.
The three women portrayed in the film all had their own separate issues at NASA, all based in the ideologies of 1960s America. Katherine Goble (played by Taraji P. Henson) is the central character of the film as the movie starts off with a scene that indicates just how special this young math prodigy is.
Katherine is plucked from the colored computing room and assigned to the Space Task Group that will calculate the launch coordinates and trajectory for an Atlas rocket headed by head engineer Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). She receives a cold welcome — particularly from an engineer named Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory”) — and is not spared the indignities facing a black woman in a racially segregated, gender-stratified workplace.
Katherine isn’t alone in her struggles at NASA as her good friends, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) is doing the work of a manager, though her covertly racist boss (Kirsten Dunst) refuses to either promote her or pay her what she’s worth. And Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), another gifted mathematician, has the dream of becoming an engineer—only to find that if it’s hard enough for a white woman to pull that off, it’s nearly impossible for a woman of color.
Throughout the movie, I sat there in amazement at the strength and perseverance of these extraordinary women. You will become engulfed in to the story and will cheer on every victory by each woman as the movie moves along.
From the recently-widowed Katherine finding true love in just-returned military man Jim Johnson (played by the ubiquitous Mahershala Ali); Mary Jackson’s home-life possibly crumbling before her very eyes because of the strain of working for her degree taking away from family time; and Dorothy Vaughn’s continued pursuit of what she rightly deserves, the film will hit you right in the feels.
The film was released in a limited release on December 25, 2016, before the wide opening release on January 6, 2017.