Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hidden Figures

 This new film is based on the true story of three African American women and their team that made major contributions to the U.S. space program in the early  '60's. It is a heart warming, crowd pleasing, and inspiring piece of work. 

Working for NASA in 1961 segregated Virginia, Katherine Johnson played by Taraji P. Henson, Dorothy Vaughan played by Octavia Spencer, and Mary Jackson played by Janelle Monae were mathematicians who helped calculate the math that would help launch and bring home safely America's first astronauts. The three actors are absolutely wonderful in their respective roles.

Ms. Johnson in particular, ended up working closely on the Freedom Seven calculations with the first team of all white male engineers and mathematicians. Ms. Vaughan recognized early that the new IBM computer would require programmers, brought her team of African American women up to speed and were the first to use the new mechanical "computer". And Ms. Jackson became the first African American female engineer.

Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons costar as the supervisors  who don't make things easy at first for Ms. Johnson but slowly begin to realize her brilliance. Mahershala Ali plays Ms. Johnson's love interest and Kirsten Dunst plays an uptight, prejudiced supervisor overseeing the women's division.  

The film is inspiring in so many ways and one of the most feel good movies of the year, despite the blatant racism of the period. Overcoming so much prejudice as African Americans and women, to succeed and open the door for others leaves you with chills as the credits roll. 

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