Hidden Figures review

by Hailey Rodis, Co-Entertainment Editor

Rating: 8/10

Director: Theodore Melfi

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner

MPAA Rating: PG

Release Date: January 7

An amazing retelling of history inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, Hidden Figures explores behind the curtains of NASA during the race to space: the shocking reality of just how hard it was for African-American women to do what they wanted to do. Viewers take a look at just three of the many African-American women that made it possible for the United States to get into space, let alone on the moon. Hidden Figures is a film that captivates the audience with it’s horrifying truths and also its comedic gesture.

Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janell Monáe) are just three of the many African-American women who worked for NASA. They are each referred to as a computer because they deal with the numbers behind every equation, calculation, and experiment. When Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), the head of the Space Task Group needs a new ‘computer’, one who will be able to solve the problems, Katherine Johnson is called up.

With a new dress code and a new boss who refuses to allow her to do what her job requires, Johnson is pushed to her limits. As what seems to be such a plain and insignificant thing to viewers, turns out to be an important issue that  presses it’s way deep into Johnson’s heart. In her new office she is allowed to only wear a simple white pearl necklace, nothing else, however she does not own a pearl necklace. This proves to be a not-so-subtle reminder that the world was not as it is currently. It shows that in that day and age, African-Americans were not treated equally so they definitely could not afford a simple strand of white pearls.

The film does a great job in addressing the pressing issue of the struggle for equality. From outbursts to simply a witty comment, each character does what they feel is necessary to make things right. Johnson is even able to get Harrison on her side, instead of allowing her to continue to have to be segregated in a completely absurd way.

Without being allowed to put her name on the work she does, it is understandable why Johnson and the other amazing African-American women at NASA were kept secret. Referred to as the greatest country on earth, the United States has done a great injustice. Keeping hidden those who deserve the credit for making it possible to get to space was a huge mistake on their part. As a country built on freedom, these women are an inspiration to many people and will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come.

These women made history: one being the first African-American in an office, another being the first African-American to go to a previously white school, the third being the first African-American Woman to become a supervisor at NASA. Even though they are African American women, the film speaks to everyone on an individual level regardless of race.   As inspiring as the stories of the beloved American heroes, that went into space or sacrificed their lives for the cause. There is no story as compelling as those of the secret computers in the buildings of NASA. This movie is the film for anyone that has doubted themselves, whether it be because of gender or race, or for anyone interested in the heroes that never got  the recognition they deserve.