The Rampage

Hidden Figures, Reviewed

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Hidden Figures is a special movie. The plot (which is based on a true story), acting, humor, and emotional moments all make this film completely worthwhile. The movie features three brilliant women who work for NASA in the 1960s. The women cannot pursue their talents fully because they are African-American. The movie focuses on how these women fight the racial segregation and limitations of their time; these three heroes fight against the unequal society around them in an attempt to achieve their rights.

At the start of the movie, the three women are employed as “computers” for NASA. They are responsible for the mathematical calculations required for NASA to send spaceships into space. Katherine, the main character, is the most talented computer and is therefore chosen to work in the specialized department that is handling the landing equation for astronaut John Glenn’s mission into space. This equation is paramount to John Glenn’s safety – if it is not accurate, he will either burn up upon reentering the atmosphere or be lost in the far reaches of space. Katherine has many ideas regarding this equation, but originally, the other scientists in her division do not respect her brilliance because she is both a woman and African-American. She faces additional challenges as a result of her ethnicity, including being forced to run half a mile in high-heeled shoes to reach the segregated African-American bathrooms multiple times a day. With the help of her (somewhat) compassionate boss, Mr. Al Harrison, Katherine fights the social norms of the time and proves her mathematical prowess.

Katherine’s friend Mary Jackson dreams of becoming an engineer but is denied permission to take classes required to attend engineering school. She brings her case to court to fight this injustice. The third woman of the trio, Dorothy Vaughn, must deal with lack of acknowledgement, working as a supervisor of the African-American computers without receiving pay or respect worthy of that position.

This movie is exceptional because of the inspiring true story that it narrates. The actors’ portrayal of each of the characters allow the viewers to identify with the characters, especially Katherine. The viewers can feel the the heroines’ pain in being denied their rights and are likely rooting for them throughout the movie. This movie is both entertaining and moving and forces the audience to contemplate about how unjust the world was for these women. Hidden Figures portrays the palpable racism in the South in the 1960s. It was terrible that these brilliant women were restricted in choosing their professions because of the color of their skin. The movie emphasizes the ironic reality that these African-American women were better at their jobs than their white male colleagues. The movie also displays the character development of the white characters and their changing attitudes toward the African Americans.

Two hours and seven minutes after the movie begins, one leaves the theater content and satisfied, feeling empathy for the characters and joy in their success. Furthermore, the acting in this movie was spectacular. Teraji P. Henson’s portrayal of Katherine Coleman allowed for viewers to empathize with her throughout her difficult life experiences. Specifically, confrontations with the white scientists working in her department, including Jim Parsons, who plays the role of her supervisor, Paul Stafford, allow Katherine to prove her worth. Kevin Costner, playing Katherine’s boss Mr. Harrison, embodies the bystander who chooses to act. In his most compelling scene, he decides to desegregate the bathrooms after Katherine explains to him why she is always absent from the office – she needs to run great distances in order to go to the bathroom. Harrison knocks down the “colored” sign on the previously segregated bathroom in front of all his employees, thereby demonstrating to the entire department how illogical and senseless it is to cause Katherine so much anxiety on a daily basis simply because she has a different skin color.

Additionally, the movie showcases NASA’s groundbreaking technology and its cutting-edge space program. The remarkable math that Katherine was essentially inventing was exciting for the audience to witness. Watching the math in motion as the rocket launched was a real pleasure. Hidden Figures is definitely an important movie to see.

 

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