Hidden Figures: A Visible Success
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When I walked into a cinema showing Hidden Figures, I was expecting a heartwarming and inspirational movie that wouldn’t necessarily leave a lasting impression. Though the first two presumptions were more than correct, I couldn’t have been farther off the mark with my third.
The general story of the film follows three highly intelligent African-American women working for NASA in a time where segregation and stereotypes were rampant. While supporting each other, these women climb the social ladder through court cases and running in the rain to become an engineer, a number-cruncher, and a manager. Obviously, there are obstacles along the way, both in their personal lives and at work, but the heartwarming heroines conquer all.
The movie immediately draws in nerds by including algebra, speeding police cars, and NASA in the first ten minutes. It then becomes clear that this is a movie that can be enjoyed by both total geeks and your average Joe. The former will adore the problem-solving and historical accuracies, the latter will relish the romantic drama, and all will love the rocket launches and desegregation attempts.
The highlight of the movie by far is the pure awesomeness of the main actresses. Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae fit seamlessly into the respective roles of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson respectively, all of whom are delightfully spunky and intelligent women working to advance their positions at highly stratified NASA. Their quick thinking and fiery resolve translate into the characters seamlessly and provide for a lot of great, realistic moments in the film.
Another important facet of the movie was how it threw into sharp focus a real situation that many wouldn’t have even considered. It proposes an out-of-the-box perspective on racism, one that you couldn’t find in Selma or Ruby Bridges. In those movies, you know what you came to see. In Hidden Figures, you think you know, until you’re surprised by how much you didn’t.
Many students at Albany High have already seen the movie. On January 23, some of the math classes took field trips to see it. “The students liked it!” said Mrs. Erickson, one of the teachers who went. Students confirmed that the film was well done, even some who went on their own. “It was a good movie,” said sophomore Jennifer Uzhca. “Very empowering.” It certainly was; upon exiting the cinema, I too was struck with an optimistic feeling that anything can be accomplished, despite my usual cynicism.
Hidden Figures got snubbed at the Oscars for three more-important categories, despite winning several NAACP and milder cinematography awards. However, the fact that the movie was nominated for Best Picture and other prizes reflects on the wistful poignancy of the feature. Whatever the case, this movie is an excellent pick at the theater and should be watched by anyone, black or white, space nerd or not, old or young… you get the idea!