Hidden Figures is a film that reveals the true story of three African-American women as they work for NASA as the first African Americans ever in the program. Set in the 1960’s during the race against Russia to put a man in space, each of the women struggles to defeat racism and sexism while being pressured to do the impossible and successfully launch a man into a place no one has ever been before.
Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji Henson; Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer; and Mary Jackson, played by Janelle Monáe, all contribute monumentally to the eventual defeat of Russia with the launch of Friendship 7, which was the first mission that managed to put a human being into space and have them orbit the Earth.
These women designed the final craft, calculated trajectories and equations, and programmed the first machine computer at NASA. Without any of their accomplishments, Friendship 7 would never have made it off the ground, and they did all of this while being discriminated against due to their gender and skin color.
From jobs that are available only to white men to going to all white schools, this movie gives extra insight into a life of discrimination and the extra pressure put on these women to win the space race without breaking any social norms.
This movie is inspiring and all around moving, and these three stories demonstrate perfectly what it was like living during that time and being a woman and/or an African American. Each of these women fought for their dreams even though they were told they would never come true, and not only did they achieve them, but they also managed to defeat segregation in each of their lives. Hidden Figures manages to perfectly bring their stories to light, making their names as well known as they should be, and all without sugarcoating their monumental struggles.
Lenika Cruz, from The Atlantic, wrote in her review of the movie, “It’s a story of brilliance, but not of ego. It’s a story of struggle and willpower, but not of individual glory.”
Kathryn Lopez, Staff Reporter