Theodore Melfi’s “Hidden Figures”

Melfi’s movie is based on a true story and focuses on three black women who broke tradtional gender and racial barriers working at NASA to send John Glenn to the moon. Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monae) were the focus of the film.

My favorite character was Katherine (depicted below). In the room where she was working, all the other men had on similar white shirts and ties, which helped to create a contrasting look between Katherine and them. My favorite part of the movie was watching Katherine’s character have to walk half a mile to go to the bathroom. The only colored bathroom was in a different building. It is not something that many would think about, and was surprised watching it on the screen. Katherine had to walk far just to go to the bathroom and eventually, her boss Al Harrison (played by Kevin Costner), asks her why she takes a long break every single day.

Octavia Spencer’s character, Dorothy, was also good to watch. She acted as a supervisor for the colored computers. (Before digital computers, people who did calculations were called computers). She worked hard to get her people to work on the IBM computer that was being developed. For me, an interesting part of the movie was when she tried to go to the library to get a book on the computing program used by the IBM, but was turned away because she was colored and the book was in the white section.

Mary Jackson’s character was my least favorite. I felt like she was often the least important of the three and that she deserved more screen time and more of a development. She ends up winning a court case to study at an all white school so that she could become an engineer at NASA.

Overall, I think this is a movie that everyone should see. I love how it was based upon real people and real events because, as the title implies, not many people might have known about these women before watching the film.


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