As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
- Written by 20th Century Fox
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
Appreciation, it is the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value.(2) There are few ways to enhance appreciation and Hidden Figures takes full advantage of that opportunity without being too busy or too preachy. It helps the audience better understand the struggles of being a minority – not only a working woman but also a mother too. During the 1960s we had the civil rights movement and the space race with the Soviet Union – which involved the difficult challenge of getting mankind into space for the first time and the courage it needed to be that man. This can be a lot of information, during one specific period, for just one movie but Hidden Figures is up to the challenge. The script adaptation – from Margot Lee Shetterly's book “Hidden Figures” – by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi weaves its many storylines together seamlessly, as it is both educating and entertaining for audience throughout. The film is an adaptation of which follows the story of three African-American women who worked in NASA's computer section in 1961. Computers meaning, human computers as in they were the computers. Back then computers took up an entire room and were just beginning to be installed in places like NASA. So it was up to talented mathematicians to do the calculations for the space program by hand. The performances are most definitely key to the film's success because although the screenplay offers a lot of character development, it is up to the actors to pull off their parts successfully and thankfully they did.
Most of the screen time follows Katherine's story, a brilliant mathematician who entered college at 14 years old. She is promoted to work in NASA's Space Task Group, working alongside the unfriendly Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) and is supervised by the group's director, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). Despite being promoted and demonstrating her outstanding capabilities, Katherine is still subject to racial discrimination. However, she not only earns respect from her peers and astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) – who trust her calculations above all others – but also attracts the attention of Lt. Col. Jim Johnson (Mahershala Ali) – a commander of a local Army Reserve base. Taraji P. Henson’s portrayal of Katherine is outstanding, as she embodies the dual meaning of the movie's title; working out the ‘hidden figures’ needed for Glenn's mission and earning reigniting for the African-American human-computers at NASA. Henson certainly deserved Oscar, one that was robbed by Meryl Streep, because she certainly gives one of the best, one of the strongest, and (quite possible) one of the most emotionally powerful performances of the year. Her performance in this film will most certainly be remembered in the years to come. The supporting cast is terrific as well. Octavia Spencer (who portrays the mechanically-inclined mathematician, Dorothy Vaughn) once again delivers a well-developed performance of a woman allows herself to be walked all over until she sees what standing up can do. Janelle Monae (who portrays the sarcastic aspiring engineer, Mary Jackson) is a wonderful support and offers some much-needed comedy relief. Jim Parsons and Kirsten Dunst (Vivian Mitchell, the supervisor for white human-computers group – were very good in their roles as obvious racist that are more stubborn to change. And then you've got Kevin Costner is delivering one his strongest performance in years as Katharine's boss, who is willing to go against the grain and break rules in order to get the job done.
Overall, Hidden Figures is a marvelously entertaining film based on a true story and the title certainly fits. Every time a film based on a true story comes out it becomes the subject of many "it isn't 100% accurate" debates. Well, Hidden Figures is not a documentary; it is a documentary-drama movie. I am impressed with the amount of information that this movie contains without seeming cluttered. It affected me emotionally without being manipulative and made me all the more appreciative of these women, their struggles, and the importance of their accomplishments during the times in which they lived. It's also surprising that so little about these women is widely known, at least until now. I highly recommended that movie-goers see this film because it will be an absolute shame to let Hidden Figures become a hidden treasure.
“Oh, I'll tell you where to begin: Three Negro women chasing a white police officer down a highway in Hampton, Virginia in 1961. Ladies, that there is a God-ordained miracle!”
- Mary Jackson
Worth Seeing: 5 of 5 stars
Worth Buying: 5 of 5 stars
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Cast & Crew
Directed by: Theodore Melfi
(Screenplay) Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi.
(Based on Book) Margot Lee Shetterly
Peter Chernin --- producer
Jamal Daniel --- executive producer
Donna Gigliotti --- producer
Kevin Halloran --- executive producer
Ivana Lombardi --- executive producer
Theodore Melfi --- producer
Kimberly Quinn --- co-producer
Margot Lee Shetterly --- executive producer
Jenno Topping --- producer
Mimi Valdes --- executive producer
Pharrell Williams --- producer
Renee Witt --- executive producer
Taraji P. Henson --- Katherine G. Johnson
Octavia Spencer --- Dorothy Vaughan
Janelle Monáe --- Mary Jackson
Kevin Costner --- Al Harrison
Kirsten Dunst --- Vivian Mitchell
Jim Parsons --- Paul Stafford
Mahershala Ali --- Colonel Jim Johnson
Aldis Hodge --- Levi Jackson
Glen Powell --- John Glenn
Kimberly Quinn --- Ruth
Olek Krupa --- Karl Zielinski
Kurt Krause --- Sam Turner
Ken Strunk --- Jim Webb
Lidya Jewett --- Young Katherine Coleman
Donna Biscoe --- Mrs. Joylette Coleman
Ariana Neal --- Joylette Johnson
Saniyya Sidney --- Constance Johnson
Zani Jones Mbayise --- Kathy Johnson
Tre Stokes --- Levi Jr.
Selah Kimbro Jones --- Carolyn Marie Jackson
Corey Mendell Parker --- Howard Vaughan
Ashton Tyler --- Leonard Vaughan
Alkoya Brunson --- Kenneth Vaughn
Jaiden Kaine --- Joshua Coleman
Gregory Alan Williams --- Marion Smithson
Maria Howell --- Ms. Sumner
Crystal Lee Brown --- Bernie
Tequilla Whitfield --- Eleanor
Dane Davenport --- Alan Shepard
Evan Holtzman --- Deke Slayton
Travis Smith --- Scott Carpenter
Scott Michael Morgan --- Bill Calhoun
Robert McKay --- Pastor Ayres
Wilbur Fitzgerald --- Senator Patrick
Cullen Moss --- Mission Control Commander
Joe Hardy Jr. --- Gordon Cooper
Addison Rose Melfi --- Addie Marcus
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