|From the Hidden Figures official Facebook page|
By Madeleine Deisen
MARIETTA, Georgia, U.S.A. – Director Theodore Melfi’s real life drama Hidden Figures tells the story of three African American women – Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monàe) – who worked as mathematicians and engineers for NASA during the 1960s.
Johnson, a mathematician and physicist, helped calculate the numbers for astronaut John Glenn’s space flight around Earth. Vaughan is a mathematician who became NASA’s first African American manager. Jackson became the first African American female engineer at NASA.
The movie, based on writer Margot Lee Shetterly’s book of the same name, is titled Hidden Figures because these women had often gone unrecognized, despite their remarkable accomplishments. They lived during a time of scientific and social advancement, and were instrumental in both movements. They did not let the daunting social barriers prevent them from pursuing their love of science, and instead worked to increase opportunities for themselves and all women and African Americans.
The best part about the film Hidden Figures is that all three women are multi-dimensional and full of life. They are not limited to one role or character trait. They are scientists and mothers, serious and playful.
In real life, these women expanded their roles in science; in the movie, these characters expand the possibilities for women actors of color. It is wonderful to see people who often go unrepresented in movies and in science portrayed in such a beautiful way, and it makes their accomplishments feel within reach of all girls and women watching.
Hidden Figures is a fantastic movie that I recommend to everyone. It is historical, yet relevant to social justice movements and the role of women in STEM fields today.
By telling this story through the eyes of people who are often underrepresented in history books and Hollywood, this movie is an important step.
And aside from its social importance, Hidden Figures is a fun, inspiring movie about friendship, vocation, perseverance, and success.
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