Popcorn Addict: Hidden Figures
Phenomenal women. It felt good seeing this film on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The film tells the story of how three Black women—Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae)—who worked as “computers” at NASA faced adversities in the workplace and became important figures in John Glenn’s launch into space with Friendship 7 (and other launches afterward, such Apollo 11 and 13). They served as the mathematical geniuses who worked at Langley Research Center in Virginia. Obviously, there were Jim Crow themes throughout the movie, but the movie also highlighted women’s inequality issues at the time, as well as pay disparities (which still exist today which saddened me as I watched).
As expected with these leading ladies, the acting was great. Each of the lead actresses played each of their characters well without being overly dramatic or silly, as can sometime happen in biopics. Each was able to articulate the story of each of the women, which made the audience feel compassionate in their journey (there were groans and cheers during different moments in my theater). The leading men, Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, and Maherhsala Ali (you know he’s my fav), also gave excellent performances in their supporting character roles. It should be noted that Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons characters were based off of several folks, and therefore, it is not an accurate representation—I’ve heard mixed reviews on their presence, but it did not bother me.
Overall, this was an excellent film. Each of the leading actresses gave life to each of their characters—telling an amazing story of perseverance and triumph. It’s a shame we were not exposed to their stories in our elementary school history classes. In fact, I encourage you to take every child you know to see this movie, especially little girls. We need to help support girls love for math and STEM fields. Erasure of women and people of color in American history is embarrassing and shameful. Katherine Johnson was just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her accomplishments in 2015 at the age of 96. I am glad they are no longer hidden.