The Great Movie Hidden Figures

Updated October 13, 2020

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The Great Movie Hidden Figures essay

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Hidden Figures is a story written on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly that has been filmed and directed by Theodore Melfi featuring the untold story of the three African American women who had a great contribution on the history of NASA in the United States.

The main characters of the said movie are Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Goble Johnson who was a mathematician, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan a mathematician and a supervisor, Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson a mathematician also and an engineer, Kevin Costner as Al Harisson who was the Director of the Space task Group (STG), Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell the supervisor and, Glen Powell as John Glenn an astronaut. The Hidden Figures movie is worth screening as it shows and teach not only about science and technology itself but it also tackles about the society on how they deal with it that makes the movie more interesting and intense at the same time.

Hidden Figures tells the story of a group of female African American mathematicians known as the “human computers” who used slide rules, adding machines, and, pencils to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets into space. They were restricted to teach mathematics in the segregated schools of the South that is why they were called upon during the labor shortages that occurred during World War II.

Luckily aeronautics industry was willing to hire anyone, regardless of color, who had the right skills to get the job done. On the first part of the movie, Katherine being an advanced learner was requested by the school faculties to be accelerated from 6th grade to 8th grade because of her intelligence and when she did– she actually became more advanced. Katherine being friends with Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson is quite cool as they are all great mathematicians and working on NASA. America became pressure of the successful Russian satellite launch that made them to plan to send also one of their own since they were frightened of what may Russians will actually do in the space whether they are watching or spying every move that they will going to do.

That time some of the “Human Computers” include Katherine Goble and Mary Jackson was assigned in temporary tasks- Katherine became the first African American team member to assist, research and calculate on the Space Task Group. She experienced difficulties and racism since she is a colored woman, she have her separate pot and the building she was working in doesn’t have colored bathrooms that’s why when she have to relieve herself she carries all the papers she should worked on inside the colored bathroom that is half mile away from the building she was assigned. Mary Jackson was assigned to experiment and identify the flaws of the experimental space capsule’s heat sheilds, encouraging her to pursue an engineering degree. While unfortunately Dorothy Vaughan’s request for being a supervisor was rejected by Vivian.

Katherine Goble finds out that redstone couldn’t support an orbital flight that is why it keeps on failing, she was accused as a Russian spy because she knew about the top secret of Atlas rocket. She prove her innocence of course because she is not a a spy neither a Russian. The Space Task Group therefore comes out with the Freedom 7 launch. Al Harisson finds that Katherine is missing from her desk few times a day and during the crucial time, Katherine explains herself that there is no bathroom for her in the building and so just to relieve herself she walk half mile away from the building. Al Harisson was shocked about it and he personally breaks down the board outside the bathroom and allows everyone to use the same bathroom.

While Mary Jackson have to study in a University which only for white people since it is a major requirement and so she go to the court and convince the judge to let her study and luckily she was allowed to study in the said all white university but only for night classes. The launch of Freedom 7 they conduct with John Glenn– the astronaut was unfortunately not successful at all because the one they send only landed in the middle of the sea and some of the parts of the spaceship they used where missing that made the Authorities questioned if their project was worth continuing or it will just damage some of water resources or even will just ruin the life of the people engage on the project they conducted.

But Al Harisson was dedicated to pursue their goal to sent human in the space and so they arrive at the Go/no-go and plans to launched the Friendship 7 that should have to be exact in order to avoid the uncertain circumstances again but since the redstone data is keep on changing Katherine convinced Paul who is indifferent with her to let her go in the briefings so that she can be more helpful knowing all the exact data she needed but Paul explains to her that it is a closed door for just somebody.

Meanwhile, Dorothy learns of the impending installation of an IBM electronic computer that could replace her co-workers. She visits the computer room and successfully starts the machine. Later, she visits a public library, where the librarian scolds her for visiting the whites-only section, to borrow a book about fortran. She learns fortran so that she and her other colleagues at West Area do not become redundant. While congratulating Dorothy on her work, Vivian assures her that she never treated her differently due to the color of her skin but Dorothy is somehow unconvinced, but is happy when she is made it as a supervisor. She was also reassign on the IBM but she says she will reject it unless her ladies will going with her and so all the Human Computers in Dorothy’s group reassigned on the IBM.

While Katherine talks to Al Harisson and asks if she can go with him in the briefings and Al Harisson includes Katherine in his key meetings. Katherine makes Al Harisson’s subordinates impressed as she explains how the capsule re-entry is possible. As the final arrangements for John Glenn’s launch, Katherine is informed that she is no longer needed at Space Task Group and has been sent back to West Area Computers. Before John Glenn’s launched he requested to Al Harisson to have Katherine checked the calculations. Katherine quickly does so and hurriedly delivers the results to the control room. The door is shut in her face after she hands over the paper but Al Harrison brings her into the control room so they can relay the results to Glenn’s launch together.

As I watch the Hidden Figures in the first place I know that it came from a real life story since in the beginning of the movie they stated that it was a true untold story and so it is not totally cliche. I can’t really predict how the story will flow since I didn’t research for it before I watch so that I will not catch some spoilers. The plot is really unpredictable and it catches my attention and let me understand and focus on watching the movie.

The themes used in the Hidden Figures movie are racism, sexism, and, the drive to achieve something. The movie shows the untold lives of African American women who was working at NASA as “human computers” who do difficult math by hand and in their heads. For me, I think racism is actually the major theme in the movie as it points out that white people found that colored people are impossible to work in jobs in the scientific community. One of the lowest represented people were black women. When the three African American mathematicians has to work at NASA, they weren’t even able to work in the same place as the white people workers at first because of segregation that was in their Law. As time went on, segregation was overturned but prejudices remained.

White people saw them as less capable and less likely to achieve because of their skin color and as if they had a contagious disease. Next is that sexism from which is another prominent theme in Hidden Figures. The three African American Mathematicians who are the main characters in the movie are all women and that’s another thing that causes people to underestimate them and hold them back at work. It was unlikely in the beginning that they would even get their jobs because of their gender and skin color and also because women just weren’t very likely to get jobs in science or math.

And the another theme is that because of the sexism and racism the three have faced, it would have been easy for women like Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Goble to give up or find other ways to live their lives. Instead, they pushed back against hardships and worked to make major achievements at NASA. Despite the advances they made in the West Computing Group, the people who worked there were largely uncelebrated because of their skin color. Still, those achievements stood on their own and the movie brings those achievements to greater attention and helped show the contributions of the three African American colored women in the history of NASA.

The movie exposed some important lessons for science, technology and society. As mathematics is a language of science it shows us how can math really useful in everything we do specially to those who worked at NASA. Mathematical methods old or new are all useful once it is proven effective also when it is applied on the experiment. Science and Technology is related to each other and it is both expressed in the movie include its proper usage and importance. The movie also shows us the lessons about the society specifically about teamwork. One of the most powerful messages from Hidden Figures was that teamwork doesn’t care about our differences.

The three African American women featured in the movie were very different from many of the employees at NASA in the early year 1960s. Culture, race, gender nor economic status prevented them from working with others to achieve a common goal which is getting the first U.S. astronauts to space. Once characters in the movie overcame their own biases about who “belonged in the room,” the shared talents of all flourished to achieve their goals. This is a great lesson as we move forward within our broader society today.

The film’s visual appearance is totally good for me from the camera angles, shots and even the locations and costumes that they applied and used. It is all natural that you can’t even see flaws also in the acting abilities of each and every ones characters in the movie.

I couldn’t even tell how much time was spent in designing the set and costumes. The sets are so realistic that I felt transformed into that time period. I loved looking at the small details added to each set. I have researched that Renee Ehrlich Kalfus is the one who designed the costumes which are so colorful and suit each character perfectly. It is so interesting to see how different the clothes were back then. The costumes helped add to it being in the 60s.

In my own opinion, Hidden Figures is definitely one of the great movie I have watched and people who are into math, science, technology and even society could then watch it and sooner they will love the movie like me. The movie will taught you a lot not just about science, mathematics and technology but also on how you should deal with all the circumstances that may be a great barrier in showing your talent and making your dreams come true. My favorite scene in the Movie is when Al Harrison who was the Director of STG or the Space Task Group breaks down the colored woman’s bathroom sign to show Katherine Goble and all to all the women there that everyone can share the same restroom.

This is my favorite scene because I loved seeing someone who looked beyond the color of people’s skin and appreciate someone no matter what but during my research I have found out that it is not Katherine Goble who experienced to walk half mile away just to relieve herself but most likely it was Mary Jackson. I have done a lot of research and I also found out that Al Harisson is just a fictitious character together with Paul Stafford and Vivian Mitchell. Al Harisson is just a fictional character created by the author and he is based on the three different directors at NASA Langley.

Paul Stafford was just created to represent certain racist and sexist attitudes that existed during the 1950s and also to make the movie more intense while Vivian Mitchell was just created to represent unconscious biases and prejudice during the era. I will rate the movie with 9 over 10 since it is a great movie that was about the three African American women that has a great contribution at NASA.

The reason why I didn’t gave it a perfect 10 rate was that there is one part I don’t like in the movie and that is when they just simply inserted Katherine’s love story because I didn’t see some chemistry about the two and also my focus was on the struggles they have encounter in their life and on how can they make the go/no-go worked. The other reason is because there’s a lot of scenarios that is somehow different from the original ones which made me feel a little disappointment but a little amazed on how the author inserted those fictional character to make the movie more intense.

The Great Movie Hidden Figures essay

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The Great Movie Hidden Figures. (2020, Sep 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hidden-figures-film-analysis/


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