Explore history with Hidden Figures

Anastasia Warner, Staff Reporter

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Three… two… one… lift off and travel back in time to 1960’s America, an era where mankind was pursuing one of its greatest accomplishments: sending man into space. Breakthroughs in science, math, and technology were occurring at the speed of rockets; meanwhile, civil rights were progressing much more slowly as the African American community fought for basic equality.

Hidden Figures, based on a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, reveals the untold true story of three brilliant African American women who worked for NASA as it sought to compete with Russia in the Space Race. The calculations and contributions by Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) were instrumental to NASA’s success in launching John Glenn into orbit, making him the first American astronaut to orbit Earth.

Director Theodore Melfi recreates social and scientific history in a manner that can appeal to all viewers. Vibrant main characters, along with well-developed supporting roles played by Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons, are sincere and humorous. The storyline brings no surprises, but is engaging and entertaining nonetheless.

Hidden Figures’ three inspiring protagonists face challenges on two fronts: solving the complex problems involved in the logistics of spaceflight and navigating the unconcealed discrimination from coworkers and society as a whole. The movie delves deep into both fields, illuminating the inner workings of NASA as well as — and perhaps more importantly — the obstacles to advancement and equality that Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson, and other similarly situated black women at the time struggled to overcome.

Hidden Figures, rated PG, was introduced on Dec. 25 in a limited run and released nationwide on Jan. 6. It’s the perfect movie to see with your history buffs, your space-obsessed friends as they stare in glee at the screen (guilty), anyone who’s interested in learning a little (or a lot), or even by yourself as you become drawn into the narrative of a formerly hidden aspect of one of America’s proudest achievements.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK8xHq6dfAo

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