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'Hidden Figures' an Oscar-worthy film

"Hidden Figures" characters Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer)are three African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox

I had heard so much beforehand about the movie "Hidden Figures" that I knew I wanted to see for myself what all the buzz was about. I knew it was based on true events concerning NASA and three African-American women during the space race. I am not great at math or science and was a little worried that a movie concerning these areas would be a bit boring. "Hidden Figures" was anything but.

The film begins with a young Katherine Johnson in the 50s. Katherine has a brilliant mind for numbers and her teachers quickly realize they can't teach her. They recommend to her parents that she go to a school that can help her. Fast forward to 1961 when an adult Katherine (played by Taraji P. Henson) and her two friends, Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) are working for NASA. They, and all the other African-American workers, are relegated to one building on the vast campus. When Katherine is reassigned as a 'computer' under the direction of her boss, Al Harrison (played by Kevin Costner), she is faced with the daunting task of getting a man in space to orbit the Earth. The entire NASA team is frustrated when the USSR beats them to put a man in space and works at a feverish pace to keep up. In addition to the demands of the job, Katherine, Dorothy and Mary must also face blatant racism and sexism from their coworkers. One example of this segregation is when Katherine must run across the NASA campus multiple times a day to use the bathroom, a 40 minute trip. When her boss calls her out in front of everyone about her absences, Katherine loses her cool and screams not only about the bathroom, but points out that she can't drink coffee from the same pot as her co workers. Things finally start turning around for her and Mary and Dorothy when they prove themselves as valuable to their departments. We get glimpses of their personal lives as well, which will tug at your heartstrings and, if you are not stuck in 1960s mentality, will make you ashamed of how Americans treated their own not that long ago.

This film is especially important in the current climate of the US. Without beating the viewer over the head, it highlights the mistreatment of minorities and serves as a warning to not let history repeat itself. I would be surprised if "Hidden Figures" doesn't take home several trophies during awards season. It is a must-see film for all.

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