Based on a true story, the new movie called HIDDEN FIGURES stars three African American actresses as mathematicians working behind the scenes at the space agency in 1962.
HIDDEN FIGURES is an enjoyable history lesson about three smart, talented black women at NASA who calculated the take off and landing trajectories for John Glenn when he became the first American astronaut to orbit the earth.
The movie is conventional and predictable but it’s also a heartwarming crowd pleaser that gives these women long overdue recognition.
Highway Patrolman: You have identification on you.
Katherine: We’re just on our way to work. At NASA, sir.
Patrolman: I had no idea they hired…
Dorothy: There are quite a few women working’ in the space program.
From the very start of their careers at NASA, the three black women had to battle racism.
Worker: This wasn’t emptied last night.
Katherine: Sorry, I’m not the….
Taraji P. Henson as Katherine can’t even use the bathroom in the building where she works, because she’s not white.
There were also very few women of any race in responsible positions at NASA at the time.
Fortunately, the big boss, Al Harrison as played by Kevin Costner, values problem solving skills over skin color. The Russians have already orbited the earth, and Harrison knows America must do the same very soon.
Harrison: I need a mathematician who can look beyond the numbers, math that does’ yet exist before the Russians plant a flag on the damn moon.
And since Katherine is a genius with numbers….
Harrison: Can she handle analytic geometry?
Secretary: Absolutely and she speaks.
Katherine: Yes, I do.
Harrison: Which one.
Katherine: Both, geometry and speaking.
Soon, she is breaking boundaries.
Man: There’s no protocol for women attending.
Katherine: There’s no protocol for a man circling the earth either, sir.
Harrison: Catherine….Have a go at it.
Katherine: The go point for re-entry is…..(she works out the math on a chalk board.)
The other two women also have success.
Man: If you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?
Mary: I wouldn’t have to. I’d already be one.
That’s Janelle Monae as Mary and Octavia Spencer as the leader of all the black women at the agency.
Better late than never, HIDDEN FIGURES brings these remarkable women out of the shadows and into the bright light where they belonged in the first place.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org