Released on January 6, 2017, Hidden Figures has touched the heart of all those who watched. Making $22.8 million on its opening weekend, it has surpassed Rogue One in the box office is becoming an amazing way to start off the new year.
Going back to the time of the race against Russia to the moon, Hidden Figures highlights the contributions of Mary Jackson, Katherine Goble-Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan, contributions that are so groundbreaking because they are black women and these events occurred during the prime of segregation. Katherine Goble-Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) was the smartest girl in her class and made it out of high school at the age of 14. She graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia State College at 18 and went on to work for NASA in 1953. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) was one of the first black female aerospace engineers for NASA. Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) became the first black female supervisor and led an all black women staff with her advance knowledge of machines and mathematics. The movie focused on how the women helped get Astronaut John Glenn to orbit the Earth.
Throughout the film, the audience were immersed in the Jim Crow south and watched tenderly as these women strived so desperately to contribute the way they dreamed they could. Katherine used her outstanding math skills to work as a “computer” for Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) and helped to calculate the launch and landing for the human manned space crafts NASA was building to shoot into the atmosphere. Mary was a brilliant engineer and fought to have the education to work as one for NASA. Dorothy had a connection with machines and used her knowledge to lead her fellow African American female colleagues. They went to church, had dinner with their families, and found love and laughter within their tight knit community. They also faced the horrors of segregation such as separate bathrooms, water fountains, coffee kettles, and even office buildings that were fashioned with glaring signs that made it known that “colored” folks were not welcomed.
The movie was also filled with moving moments of the women breaking down the barriers that were being built to keep them from succeeding. Some of those moments include Mary Jackson winning the court case that allowed her to attend night classes at an all white high school, Dorothy Vaughan finally being recognized as “equal” by her white counterpart by being referred to as “Ms. Vaughan” rather than “Dorothy”, and Al Harrison tearing down the sign of a colored restroom so that Katherine would not have to run from building to building just to relieve herself. It was inspiring to watch a movie that lifts up the black culture by highlighting the education and the skills these women had as intellectuals. The movie was not only inspiring to watch, but a great movie overall with a star-studded cast provided for pleasant entertainment. Audience could feel the passion between the married couples and the emotions were conveyed so expertly that viewers were prompted to respond audibly in the quiet theaters.
Hidden Figures has surpassed all expectations and contributes to the increased uplifting of the black culture. With a soundtrack produced and mostly sung by Pharrell Williams and a rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, Hidden Figures is one for the history books.