The student news site of Corona del Mar High School

Trident

  • June 7Summer Vocal Concert is June 9th-10th at 2pm and 7pm!

  • June 7Start Studying For Finals!

  • June 7Summer is only 2 weeks away!

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Photo+by+20th+Century+Fox+Movies
Photo by 20th Century Fox Movies

Photo by 20th Century Fox Movies

Photo by 20th Century Fox Movies

Maya Satchell, Journalist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






In 1962, when the American public, and the rest of the world, saw John Glenn and the other Mercury astronauts successfully orbit the earth for the first time, there were probably few people who could see the mathematical equations that made the launch and trajectory of the flight possible. If the American public saw photos of the engineers and scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center who worked on the space launch, they would have seen only white men. Yet what was seen in this TV footage and in those photos, a historic rocket launch and the smiling faces of the astronauts and NASA engineers, was not the whole story. Hidden behind the successful flight of the Mercury space capsule were the mathematical figures that governed its trajectory around the earth, and hidden behind those (white, male) engineers were brilliant African-American women mathematicians.

 

The film Hidden Figures tells the otherwise little-known story of the many African-American women “computers,”  or human calculators, whose quick, accurate, and complex mathematical calculations were necessary to our nation’s goal of beating the Soviet Union in the space race. The film focuses on the important role in the space race that was played by women such as Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, each of whom did groundbreaking work in mathematics, computer science, and engineering that supported our nation’s drive ultimately to launch a man into space.

 

HIdden Figures is set in Langley, Virginia, during the early 1960’s. The 1960’s was a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were in a race initially to put a human in space and later to be the first to put a man on the moon. At the beginning of the film, the Soviet Union already had become the first country to put a living creature, the dog Laika, as well as a man into space. Now the pressure was on America, and especially the engineers and human computers at NASA, to put an American into space to orbit the earth, and eventually to put a human on the moon. As President Kennedy said on May 25, 1961: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving its goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” And in order to accomplish this mission, as we learn in this film, our nation needed the intellectual gifts of all of its many people, including women, and women of color.

 

Yet in their important work on behalf of our nation’s goals in space, women like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson faced the many challenges all black people had to endure due to the segregation and racism of the time. Unlike the white women calculators, they could not live in dormitories on the grounds of the laboratory in Langley, but had to find housing in the segregated neighborhoods of a nearby town, Hampton. The black women calculators also were segregated in their own building, called the West Computers, and were denied raises and promotions despite their talent and hard work. They had to use segregated wash rooms at work and segregated buses to get to and from work. However, despite being treated as second-class citizens, these strong and brilliant black women mathematicians not only produced countless calculations on behalf of the space missions, but also worked in their own communities and raised families as well.

 

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Jackson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn, and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson, with great supporting work done by Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, and Kevin Costner. All of these actors are known from many different movies and TV shows, whether it be from Moonlight (Mahershala Ali), The Big Bang Theory (Jim Parsons), or Empire (Taraji P. Henson), but they all come together to portray the lives of these real people in a compelling, authentic way. Hidden Figures is nominated for multiple Academy Awards including best picture, Octavia Spencer for best supporting actress, and best adapted screenplay. The film was produced for 25 million dollars, and has gone on to gross more than 180 million dollars worldwide.

 

It was astonishing to see what these women, and not just any women but black women in the South in the 1960’s, could do. It was truly inspiring to know that this powerful story is based in real, historical facts. It gave me hope that for black women, and for all women and all people of color, that breaking the glass ceiling and going beyond expectations can become more than a dream – it can become reality. I strongly urge all women, and especially women of color, to go out and see this film, in order to be reminded that nothing is impossible, including a career in math and science. I also recommend this film to men of all ages, so that they also can be reminded of the power that women have had and will have in shaping this world.

This film brings these courageous and brilliant black women out of the shadows and into the light.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    Everything, Everything: Worth the Read?

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    Review of Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino: Is it Magical or Just Monstrous?

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    A New Take on Cinderella

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    It’s Time to Break Down the Walls

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    Misconception of Feminism

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    Fighting For Their Future

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    “La La Land” Movie Review

  • Opinion

    “Fences” Review

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    Sing! Movie Review

  • Hidden Figures Movie Review

    Opinion

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Film Review

The student news site of Corona del Mar High School
Hidden Figures Movie Review