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‘Hidden Figures’ inspirational for women in STEM

Family-friendly film features lessons about perseverance

From+left+to+right%3A+Actors+Janelle+Monae%2C+Taraji+Henson%2C+Kevin+Costner+and+Octavia+Spencer.
From left to right: Actors Janelle Monae, Taraji Henson, Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer.

From left to right: Actors Janelle Monae, Taraji Henson, Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer.

From left to right: Actors Janelle Monae, Taraji Henson, Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer.

BRYCE CHAPMAN, Evergreen columnist

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Before I saw “Hidden Figures,” I knew I had to talk to somebody about this film to get more insight into the sociopolitical meaning of the movie. As a white man, I know that my background in this subject is not sufficient.

Luckily, I was able to speak with the Student Entertainment Board’s director of films, Sophie Diltz. She decided to show this film, she said, because it’s a story that deserves to be told.

“Women in STEM don’t get enough recognition,” she said.

Diltz believes highlighting the achievements of women and people of color will help “upcoming generations and women in college choose what they want to do.”

It was obvious that she wanted to show this film for more than just pure entertainment. She talked about how these women in NASA were never given proper credit, and how this movie sheds light on the crucial part they played in American history.

“Hidden Figures” is a movie about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. These powerful women are played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae respectively, and the actresses anchor the movie with wonderful performances and seamless storytelling.

Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson are employed at NASA as “colored” computers. This means that they, along with many other women of color, are placed in a tiny room in the very back of the NASA facility. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that the three protagonists are far too talented to be placed in some remote, hidden room.

We watch the journey of these women as they constantly overcome oppression and man-made obstacles to achieve their dreams. Each of the three women have their own separate story of climbing the ladder of NASA, and each is inspiring and commanding.

The main character of the movie, Katherine Johnson, is arguably the most brilliant mind at NASA at the time. Because of this, against all odds, she is placed among the ranks of men who are trying to get the first American into space.

Johnson faces constant challenges throughout the movie, but she always perseveres with her will to succeed, her undeniable intelligence and her determination to make a difference.

Ultimately, this is a feel-good, family-friendly movie that is entertaining and educational. Viewers may be frustrated that director Theodore Melfi made it rated PG, but I personally love the idea.

I agree with Diltz. This is an important movie to show children because it demonstrates that it is wrong to treat people poorly and underestimate them because they look different. Hopefully, this movie will inspire young women, especially women of color, to get involved with STEM programs at their schools.

The only problem I have with this film is that the relationships in this movie seem rushed and underdeveloped. Every scene with romance seems to be cut quickly, so we can get back to the action at NASA.

Other than that, I truly believe that everyone should see “Hidden Figures.” Not only is it an inspirational film about three mathematically gifted women fighting their way up the ranks of NASA, but it is also a brilliant picture in general.

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‘Hidden Figures’ inspirational for women in STEM