Monae, Henson & Spencer

MOVIE REVIEW: Why “Hidden Figures” is a Modern Problem

Hidden Figures tells the remarkable true story of three women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson) who broke race and gender barriers at NASA to play a part in the space race. It features wonderful performances by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, as well as a return to form for Kevin Costner. There’s also a lovely and unexpected tribute to John Glenn, played by Scream Queens‘ Glen Powell. Director Theodore Melfi doesn’t dig too deeply into the Civil Rights Movement, but he does remind us of the ugly realities of the time (like segregated bathrooms and office spaces). Even Katherine Johnson was forced to drink from a separate coffee maker while working at NASA, despite the important work she did alongside white men and women there.

Hidden Figures is a text-book crowd pleaser, with lovable actors playing remarkable people who changed the world, but it also brings to mind the women it doesn’t mention. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson managed to get the education they needed to reach their full potential, but what about those who couldn’t? It’s easy to shake our heads in frustration while observing the bigotry of the past, but segregation is alive and well today, especially in our education system. Continue reading →