Foothill Technology High School

‘Hidden Figures’ tells the true story of powerful women at NASA

Most people know NASA’s inspirational stories. The first man on the moon, the space race and every other out-of-this-world accomplishment. However, what many do not realize is that some of the greatest NASA accomplishments were achieved by black women during a time of racial segregation, when civil rights movements were picking up steam. The film Hidden Figures uncovers the story of three strong women who prove that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

The film follows the story of three black women who worked in NASA in the early 1960’s. Taraji P. Henson took on the role of Katherine Goble, who worked alongside men to discover and apply the unknown mathematical equation to successfully launch Friendship 7 and beat the Soviets in the Space Race.

Goble’s friend Mary Jackson, played by Janelle Monáe, was on her own difficult journey towards equality. Unable to obtain the education needed to become an engineer, she was forced to go to court to fight for her right to earn her degree at an all white school. Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer, worked as a “computer” in the West Areas Computer Division, the black women’s workspace. She fought for not to achieve her goal of becoming a supervisor, but for all the other women in the workspace as well.

“Hidden Figures” provides an uplifting tale, full of comedy, drama, romance and inspiration. Between the casual jokes about broken down cars, handsome astronauts and a far away bathroom, to the romantic interests and supportive husbands, to the intense court sessions and long nights at work, the film provides a realistic sense of these women’s lives.

The three women’s stories are often overlooked or forgotten, and the film does a spectacular job of bringing them to life. Everyone at NASA had to work extremely hard for their successes, and this proves that black women had to work twice as hard, resulting in a determination like no other. It proves to all people everywhere that with perseverance and passion, you can do anything.

The acting in the film was all around extraordinary, not only for the three main women, but for the other workers at NASA as well. Kevin Costner, known for films such as “Dances with Wolves” and “The Bodyguard,” plays Al Harrison, the main man in charge. He does an excellent job of showing that some can respect all intelligent brains, no matter what color skin holds their talent. Jim Parsons, most well-known for starring in “The Big Bang Theory,” plays Paul Stafford, a man who, unlike Harrison, does not believe in integration of all races. Both clearly have different views, and each actor does a great job of showing them.

Along with the incredible cast comes the equally talented crew. Director Theodore Melfi, who has also worked on “St. Vincent,” “Park Day” and “Winding Roads” does an excellent job of bringing the NASA workspace (as well as the 1960’s time period) to the screen.

Hidden Figures is proving successful. With a 7.9/10 rating on IMDB and a 92 percent record on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is projected to make $100 million in box office sales.

“Hidden Figures” brings a true, untold story into the spotlight in a heartfelt, uplifting film. With humor, intensity and romance, it caters to every mood and shows every opinion of various people throughout the time period. Featuring incredible acting and a powerful message, the film is truly an inspiring tale like no other.

–Julia Fickenscher and Kathryn Brandi

Featured Image Credit: IMDb

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