Hidden Figures is based on the true story of the black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the 60s to enable manned space travel. These women were treated like a ‘secretary pool’, given a dress code and segregated toilets (a long way from where they actually worked). They also couldn’t use the communal coffee supply. They weren’t allowed to put their names on reports, even if all the work was theirs. Yet the racism within the NASA of the time was institutional rather than personally enforced. Watching the movie, we find most of the white characters likeable (if not admirable), making it hard for us to square that with our feelings about how the black women are treated. The film cleverly manages to weave race issues and social themes with the dramatic narrative about the US’s ‘space race’ with Russia. There are many levels of juxtaposition that make this movie so insightful that you can only be enlightened and enriched by watching it. There can be no doubt it’ll win multiple Oscars. It scores 9 out of 10 from me!
Race and space: Hidden Figures review