Hidden Figures

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Hidden Figures

A scene from Hidden Figures

A scene from Hidden Figures

A scene from Hidden Figures

A scene from Hidden Figures

Aidan Silitch, Staff Writer

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The scene is  the American South, in 1962, where racial tensions are growing. Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson) is a black computer* working in Virginia, when she receives a call from Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), one of the heads of NASA. Katherine is to come in and double check some of the work done by the NASA mathematicians, effectively raising tensions in the workplace. The white, male mathematicians, especially Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons), feel insulted that their work has to be double checked by a black woman. Al Harrison writes this off saying that it’s a necessity, yet the tension is still ever-present. At this time, NASA is facing pressure from the U.S. government after Russia successfully launched Sputnik I, one of the turning points of the Cold War space race. Katherine is assigned to work for the Space Task Group, becoming the first black woman to do so. The space task group main objective is to send a man, John Glenn (Glenn Powell), to orbit the Earth. Katherine, along with her two colleagues, Dorothy (Octavia Spencer), a computer programmer, and Mary (Janelle Monae), an engineer, all struggle to earn their place in a work environment riddled with extreme sexism and racism.
For a plot that could be misconstrued as boring to some, it does an amazing job of keeping you engaged with phenomenal acting and a top tier sound track composed by Pharrell Williams. It also does a good job outlining certain hard to grasp mathematical concepts, such as coding and space travel in general. Not only does it do all of this, but it also does a fantastic job teaching you about the Cold War space race.
For anyone interested in the concept of space travel, or issue that hit more close to home (sexism, racism, etc…) I highly recommend you see this incredibly important film.
*The term given to female mathematicians in the 1960’s

A scene from Hidden Figures

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