It is 1962, and Russia is in at an advanced stage to send a team to the moon. However, this is a race the United States is not anticipating to play second fiddle, but apparently, they are behind. Desperation grows among the United States authority NASA - responsible for making the space race a reality. , they have to do it before Russia. The agency NASA in its desperate bid brings three brains on board to help. The issue with the three brains? It is 1962, they are African Americans, and they are all women. It is happening in a period when womens ability and particularly black women are not considered smart enough, for such specific duties. That is the brief reflection of the plot in the Hidden Figures, and what follows is a thrilling drama on how these ladies overcome all the prejudice not just to help NASA achieve its missions, but also in inevitably advancing the feminist agenda.
The three big brains, in their script names, are Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary. The space agency is in need of brilliant engineers, something they find in Mary and Dorothy, while Katherine, being a mathematician provides the requisite calculative knowledge essential in the project team. These three scientists are drawn into NASA and allocated various roles, which unfortunately separates them but still maintains them under one organization. However, all along the movie each appear unique, bringing an interesting perspective to the overall theme of the film. The theme is that of women going against odds and performing spectacularly in roles traditionally thought to be reserved for white males. But this is just the start, and there are more prejudicial instances along the film.
In particular, Katherine manages to earn a promotion that places her in a research team largely dominated by white males. Despite that promotion, she is still subjected to office discrimination. She cannot serve herself water or coffee from the communal office pot, she cant attend the office briefings, and even more badly, she cannot use the washrooms within the office block, she has to walk several meters away if she wants to use a restroom. These indignities continue to undermine her contribution, even though she solidly puts up to ensure she meets expectations. At some point, her boss Paul Stafford, the project leader walks into the office only to find Katherine absent, and the job at a halt. On inquiry, he is informed she had stepped out to use the washroom that is distant from the office, meant for people of color. Interestingly, it irritates Stafford who decides to immediately lift the ban that blacks cannot use the washrooms within the office block. He walks over to the washrooms and pulls down a poster that is raised with those instructions, a point that changes the script.
It is not easy either for Dorothy and Mary. Mary, a brilliant thrill seeker, wants to enroll in an all-white school in Virginia. She intends to pursue a degree in engineering. It doesnt get easy, but Mary decides to seek an order form the court which grants her a right of admission, and she goes ahead to study and graduate as an engineer. All of the scripts, there are so many indignations associated with race and gender, everything conveyed through rules, body language, and even how characters associate with each other.
The Hidden figure is an exemplification of Americas society half a century ago. One illustration is the dominance of alpha males in the whole script, each believing in the superiority of their contribution to NASA. That is how exactly the American society was in post-World War 2. However, this dominance faced intensified opposition as women started to seek for more free space where they should be let free to do anything they are capable, and they wish. Coincidentally, at a time when NASA was struggling to outpace Russia in the race of sending the first human to the moon, there came three black women who had exactly what the agency was looking. Their brilliance, which is demonstrated their ability in every aspect was a masterstroke in emphasizing the need for equal rights, as far as gender and race are concerned.
For someone who has grown in a society that is free; that accepts the concept of equality irrespective of race or gender, the script looks outrageous. However, it demonstrates where the nation has emerged from, and potentially evokes the feelings of regret of keeping able members of the society out of work because of gender and race. The film is a perfect disapproval discriminatory tendencies.
We cant close this without crediting the engines competence of Theodore Melfi, who is the director of the whole script. The film is a must watch for anyone who wants to reflect back the hidden contribution of women in the successful project that delivered the first American to the moon, and successfully returning. They, just like their male counterparts had played an important and equal role, a demonstration that irrespective of their gender, and race, they were equal. Hidden figures steer its course nimbly, and nicely, to say the lease of it.
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