Movie Review: ‘Hidden Figures’


“Hidden Figures” is a movie based on the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” written by Margot Lee Shetterly.

As the title says, it tells a story of three African-American women who worked as mathematicians for NASA and played their part in getting an American astronaut into space for the first time.

Director Theodore Melfi, whose movie credits include mostly short films and a Bill Murray comedy, “St. Vincent,” did a splendid job bringing the book to life by screenwriting it together with Allison Schroeder.

The book was published in 2016, yet this is a story that should have been told decades ago. It portrays the 1960s and segregation, with the separate bathrooms, drinking fountains and even coffee pots for blacks and whites. However, that is something we have seen before.

What we have not seen is the real-life story of black women with incredible knowledge in mathematics, who outshined their male colleagues.

These women show the ways they were treated and how they changed that by doing their jobs the best way they could. No protests. No violence.

Thus, the movie shows the power of believing in oneself and the power of knowledge or any talent you have.

One of the greatest performances in the movie goes to Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson in the film standing up for herself in court and her right for education in a school for white people. That monologue was one of the two greatest. Taraji P. Henson’s monologue as Katherine Johnson is another when she breaks out screaming and justifying her need to use a restroom but not having one for her in the building. It definitely has the ingredients of an Oscar-winning performance.

Therefore, “Hidden Figures” is a movie that everyone has to see, not only to make one think about race issues, how they have evolved and are still present in America, but to show the potential women can have, the power of knowledge and talent and how it can get people as far as they wish to go if they just keep working hard.

All in all, “Hidden Figures” is a wonderful movie with a big message that makes movie-goers leave the theater with a mind full of thoughts, but also has the bits of humor, love and friendship that leaves them smiling.