Hidden Figures is based on three little known women in history, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P, Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae); three African American women who worked for the space program providing critical math data that was needed to put a man in space. The movie tells two simultaneous stories. The story of the "Space Race" between The USA and Russia and the story of the battle for civil rights which was occurring at the same time. As matter of fact many African American women worked for NASA in the early 60's. They were numbers checkers and known as "Colored Computers." (BTW: the original definition for a "computer" was not for a machine; but rather for a person. The original definition was: "a person who does manual math calculations.")
Although Hidden Figures deals with some very serious issues it is a very funny movie. Director Theodore Melfi chose to deal with the civil rights struggle the women faced with humor, rather than a heavy handed documentary style. It makes for a very entertaining as well as educational movie. The three women were little know before this movie. Actress Octavia Spencer admitted she had never even heard the story of Dorothy Vaughn, the character she plays, until she read the script for the movie. Hopefully that won't be the case after the movie is released.
Hidden Figures is an inspiring story that deserves to be told. Your only question may be, "why did it take so log?' There have been many movies about the race with Russia to be the first to land on the moon and the brave pilots who risked their life to accomplish it (The Right Stuff, Apollo 13), but this is the first time the true story of the women behind the United States mission to the moon has been told and it is an inspiring movie that show be seen by everyone; regardless of race or gender. The women in Hidden Figures were heroes; period.
Hidden Figures opened in limited release on Christmas Day (in Dallas; exclusively at AMC North Park) and it opens in wide release today (January 6. 2017). The move is rated PG and on my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" it get's a JUMBO (with extra butter), my highest rating.