Last Thursday night Chuck, his sister Susan, and I went to see the movie “Hidden Figures.” I loved this movie. It captured all the excitement of NASA during the Mercury program, and it also captured the stories of three special women who worked at NASA during that time–three African-American women.
Events in the story stayed pretty true to what actually happened with the exception of some of the characters such as the director played by Kevin Costner. His character is fictitious, a compilation of several directors at Langley. Also the main character’s boss is a fictitious person. His character represents the segregation issues they faced.
The movie is based on a book of the same name.
One character in particular is amazing, especially in real life. Katherine Johnson is truly the real thing. Her story alone is worth the movie. She is a mathematician, otherwise known as a “computer”. In real life she was a freshmen in high school by the age of ten, and she graduated from college by her eighteenth birthday.
There is a scene in the movie where John Glenn told them that he wanted the math for his re-entry trajectory checked by the ‘girl’. He was talking about Katherine. He actually said that in real life. She was that good at what she did.
I wondered how much of the movie stayed true to actual events, so I went online and found a very good comparison at a website called History vs. Hollywood. You can read it here.
This is a great movie for children older than toddlers. It does a wonderful job of demonstrating the importance of science and math in a life and death situation. It also does a good job of showing the civil rights issues facing African Americans and women in the 1950s and 60s.
The only fault I can find with this film is when the women speak defiantly to their bosses. I was a woman in the workplace in the 1970s, and I cannot believe anyone who kept their job got away with that type of behavior. That is the way people today talk to each other.
I told Chuck that the best I could tell, that is what these women wanted to say…not what they actually said. If I had spoken to my boss like that, I wouldn’t have had much of a chance for promotion. Also, the same applied for junior men in the workplace, too. They couldn’t have gotten away with it either.
Back then there was a rigid pecking order in most workplaces. Stepping out of it usually got you nowhere. Some of us finally learned that the best way to overcome it was to leave…to change jobs.
Finally, I read in the History vs. Hollywood article about Katherine’s father. This man was a true hero. What he did to make sure all his children got a full education was absolutely wonderful and above and beyond. What a great example he set for his children.
So go see this movie and take the kids. It is a comedy drama, based on true events–one of the best I’ve seen in years. It is a true family movie.