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Powerful leading actresses steal the show in “Hidden Figures”

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One of the most important days in American history was when the United States put a man on the moon. The little-known story of how three African American women helped achieve this feat is brilliantly portrayed in the movie “Hidden Figures.” The movie is empowering and uplifting, and lives up to the expectations of fans and critics, earning a Screen Actors Guild Award, African-American Film Critics Association Award, and Women Film Critics Circle Awards.

Based on real people and events, “Hidden Figures” tells the story of three African-American women who are mathematicians working for NASA during the civil rights movement. These women, Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), helped do the mathematical calculations for launching John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit during the space race.

The name “Hidden Figures” comes from the fact that the African-American women who worked at NASA were forced to work in another building because of segregation laws that were put in place at the time. In one scene, Johnson was left out of a meeting about the launch because she was a woman. In this scene, Henson portrayed Johnson as a strong, hardworking, and fierce woman who didn’t accept anyone tearing her down. She persisted, entered, and ended up having vital contributions to the meeting and eventually, the launch.

Spencer’s acting brought Dorothy Vaughan to life by portraying her strength and diligence while teaching her kids to never give up. In one particular scene, Vaughan was looking for a book in the white section of a public library to learn how to work an IBM 7090. A librarian told her off, but Vaughan took the book to set an example for her children.

Mary Jackson worked as an engineer paving the way for women and people of color. Monáe effectively depicted a woman with determination, who worked hard to go to classes that were not allowed for African-Americans to attend. Jackson had to go into court when she was initially rejected from taking engineering classes at Hampton High School, a primarily white school.

All three actresses portrayed hard working, diligent, strong, and powerful women who brought the characters to life. “Hidden Figures” is a fantastic movie showing the people behind the work on the race to space and working hard to desegregate NASA. These three actresses brought the story to life and show how hard work will pay off.

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Powerful leading actresses steal the show in “Hidden Figures”