The title “Hidden Figures” has a double meaning, On one hand it refers to the mathematical calculations that went in to making John Glenn the first American man into space in 1962. On the other hand it describes Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three African-American NASA mathematicians who did many of those calculations.
“They let women do things at NASA,” says Johnson, “and it’s not because we wear skirts, it’s because we wear glasses.”
Taraji P. Henson is Katherine Johnson, a math prodigy who can, “look beyond the numbers.” At the beginning of 1961 she, and her two pals, mathematician Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and aerospace engineer Jackson (Janelle Monáe) were working in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center.
The patience and perseverance of these three African-American women is what makes this movie so moving. They manage to progress even in the face of blatant prejudice. They not only prove their gifts and talents, they do it with grace. The performances by Henson, Spencer, and Monáe shine and provide us with a portrait of three courageous fighters for justice.
The movie has received massive positive reviews over the years and was even lauded and given a special airing session by the United States Embassy in Nigeria.
Hidden Figures grossed $169.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $66.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide gross of $236 million, against a production budget of $25 million.