Hidden figures finally get their due
She’s one tough “Cookie” on “Empire,” but in in her latest project,” Taraji P. Henson, is a self-assured, saucy scientific phenomenon. She plays NASA computer Katherine Gobel Johnson in the rocket-paced bio-pic “Hidden Figures.” The movie focuses on three women who helped get the Mercury program off the ground and in to Space.
Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer is another until now “Hidden Figure” – Dorothy Vaughn, and singer Janelle Monae continues to transition into acting with this terrific turn as engineer Mary Johnson.
The three women made huge accomplishments while at NASA, but are symbolic of all the other women of color and white women as well, who had a difficult time making a name for themselves in the old boy network in the control room and beyond. Case in point, Kevin Costner is a white NASA supervisor who has no idea Henson's "Johnson" is running a quarter-mile to use the "colored" bathroom, even though there's a perfectly fine toilet just down the hall. What he does once his eyes are opened in admirable, but the movie certainly shows how accepted and oftentimes unquestioned the separate and unequal treatment of minorities and women was in those days.
The acting is terrific and the film does a wonderful job of driving home the the implications of institutional bigotry without using a lot of vile language. These ladies picked their battles, whether in the court room or the office, and won them with brains and determination and now they are finally being honored for their contribution to the space program and to women’s rights.
Hidden Figures is a must-see for anyone who loves history, space or a darn good story.