“Hidden Figures” knocks it into outer space

Jaden Vander Berg- Staff Writer/ News Editor

In a time when comedies are so raunchy you either feel bad about yourself when you leave the movie theater, or you’re forced to turn to Disney’s animated films filled with singing and friendship, it’s hard to find a middle ground. But fear not: Theodore Melfi’s recent biopic “Hidden Figures” is the heartwarming, hilarious drama America needs.

This movie tells the story of three African-American women who worked at NASA during the beginning of the 1960s space race. Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) are just a few of the many women who worked at NASA as human computers.

Whether it is Dorothy trying to get the credit and pay of a supervisor, Mary in her quest to become an engineer or Katherine just trying to go to the bathroom, the audience experiences the heartache and injustice felt by the women every time one of them tries to get ahead.

During this time in history, Russia threatened to beat the United States into space as our nation’s own programs fell in danger of becoming irrelevant. Racial tensions rose to new heights, especially in the south as Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement gaining more and more traction.

The barriers of race and discrimination seem to be nonexistent at NASA until plot unveils this label: “colored computers.” This term referred to the African American women who performed mathematical calculations in a building half a mile from the main building on NASA’s campus. These women, arguably some of the smartest people to ever be employed at NASA, had to work twice as hard as their white counterparts to earn their place among the ranks. The supervisors decide to look for NASA’s best and brightest “colored computers,” and yet color proves to once again be a cause for question.

When I learned this movie was only rated PG, I was shocked. It has been a long time since a mainstream, high-profile movie came with such a tame rating.

Filmmakers did a great job of making this accessible for everyone. Parents would not feel shame in taking their young daughters or sons to see such a film about such an important part of history that is too often forgotten. There is no violence or cursing in the film, and yet the movie still sends a powerful message of perseverance and determination.

You will feel every emotion walking away from this movie, but the greatest of them all, in the end, will be hope. Hope that some of the world’s greatest minds are yet to be developed. Hope that a young girl or boy will become inspired to enter the STEM fields. Hope that more stories like the one of these brave women will be told for years to come.

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