Hidden Figures, a film based on a true story that simply makes you feel, from the starting moments right up till the credits roll. It's been nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and it will be a well-deserved win if it comes to that. More's the pity that main character Taraji P. Henson missed out on a nomination for Actress in a Leading Role; a nomination and a win would have been rightly deserved in our opinion.
At a time in the 60s when colored people face enough hardships with their job and with everything in general, it is twice as hard for a colored woman in her job, factor in that the job is with NASA and you get the uphill battle that they have to go through. People are segregated in public based on color, toilets for colored women are in a different building, buses have a section at the back just for colored people, colored people cannot share a library with the rest, water coolers are again separated and labeled. Mothers are pulling their children away from getting too near a colored person as if they are diseased. The list just goes on and you get the point.
This story showcases how these 3 brilliant colored women push through racial and gender barriers, emerging victorious in their various battles after quite a struggle. Katherine Goble (Taraji P. Henson), a widowed mother of 3, a brilliant mathematician who from young had crazy skills that were way above her grade. Her skills are not put to good use while she is stuck in her job of being a human computer. When she is finally given a chance, she has to endure hostile looks, the silent treatment and even though she may outqualify all the men, being treated as if she is lesser than she is. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), another brilliant mind, a leadership figure who is forced to take on the responsibilities of the supervisory job she is doing without being given the recognition and remuneration she deserves because it is simply unheard of a colored woman being in a position of power. Lastly, Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), a vivacious personality doing the job of an engineer but prevented from progressing to actually becoming an engineer.
These women are right at the very bottom of the chain. The odds are stacked against them simply because 1) they are colored and 2) they are women. Simple tasks such as taking a 5-minute toilet break become monumental when one is forced to track across buildings, sometimes in the pouring rain simply because colored women have to use a different toilet. Pouring a simple cup of coffee from the already existing coffee dispenser turns into an another time-consuming task when one has to use a different flask and make their own coffee from scratch because god forbid they use the same dispenser. Gah.
Unfortunately, these women not only face prejudice and derision from their counterparts, they also face disbelief from their own husbands and friends because it was the belief at that time that women were not of the same quality as men, not to mention the color of their skin. This judgment made them unsure of themselves, doubting that they could do a job that others said they could not. Even after pushing past their own mental barrier, for example, Mary finally decides to apply for the engineer position but is told by Mrs. Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) that the rules have changed and what she was qualified for five minutes ago, has just gotten exponentially harder. Rules are constantly being updated to prevent these ladies from taking their rightful places simply because of the color of their skin. Even when a chance to progress is reluctantly given to them, it doesn't all fall into place and it a case of taking two steps forward and one step back.
This is a tale of how perseverance and tenacity can get someone to where they want to be, the hope of a better future. One where a little helping hand from a person in the right position at the right time, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), can literally change their lives.
In this day and age, it blows your mind to see the struggles and hardship people, in particular, colored women had to go through at that time, to progress and one can simply be thankful that society has made huge steps ahead since then and yes, there are ways to go yet before all is equal but we are slowly but surely getting there.
Rating 4.5/5 stars