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Hidden Figures (2016)

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The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

Director:

Theodore Melfi

Writers:

Allison Schroeder (screenplay by), Theodore Melfi (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
920 ( 33)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 84 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Taraji P. Henson ... Katherine G. Johnson
Octavia Spencer ... Dorothy Vaughan
Janelle Monáe ... Mary Jackson
Kevin Costner ... Al Harrison
Kirsten Dunst ... Vivian Mitchell
Jim Parsons ... Paul Stafford
Mahershala Ali ... Colonel Jim Johnson
Aldis Hodge ... Levi Jackson
Glen Powell ... John Glenn
Kimberly Quinn ... Ruth
Olek Krupa ... Karl Zielinski
Kurt Krause ... Sam Turner
Ken Strunk ... Jim Webb
Lidya Jewett ... Young Katherine Coleman
Donna Biscoe ... Mrs. Joylette Coleman
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Storyline

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Gobels Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes. Written by 20th Century Fox

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the women you don't know, behind the mission you do. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hidden Figures See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$515,499, 25 December 2016

Gross USA:

$169,607,287

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$235,956,898
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS (DTS: X)| Auro 11.1 | SDDS

Color:

Color | Black and White (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At age 98, Katherine Johnson was the only survivor of the 'Hidden Figures 3' to see her achievements depicted on film. In November 2015, President Barack Obama awarded her a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work at NASA, and she was further honored the following year when a new $30m, 40,000-square-foot NASA building was named the Katherine G Johnson Computational Research Facility. See more »

Goofs

Mission control for the early Mercury missions was at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Langley in VA was used just for number crunching. Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) and members of his staff would not have been in the mission control room in FL during flights -- they would have been back at Langley. The mission control people were a completely different staff. During later missions, the number crunching was transferred to Goddard Space Flight Center in MD and mission control was transferred to Johnson Space Center in TX. See more »

Quotes

Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer. You can't be a computer the rest of your life.
Mary Jackson: Mr. Zielinski, I'm a negro woman. I'm not gonna entertain the impossible.
Karl Zielinski: And I'm a Polish Jew whose parents died in a Nazi prison camp. Now I'm standing beneath a spaceship that's going to carry an astronaut to the stars. I think we can say we are living the impossible. Let me ask you, if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?
Mary Jackson: I wouldn't have to. I'd already be one.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Film 2017: Episode #46.1 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Crystal Clear
Written and Performed by Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams performs courtesy of i am OTHER Entertainment/Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Don't let "Hidden Figures" be a hidden treasure!
13 January 2017 | by dave-mcclainSee all my reviews

Appreciation. It's a condition which requires information and understanding and results in increased compassion, acceptance and inclusiveness. There are few ways to enhance appreciation for others more effectively than a well-made movie and the 2016 historical drama "Hidden Figures" (PG, 2:07) takes full advantage of that opportunity. Without being too busy or too preachy, this film helps the audience better appreciate the struggles of being a minority – and a working woman (and even a mother working outside the home) – in the early 1960s, the pressure involved in competing with the Soviet Union in the early years of the space race, the difficult challenges surrounding getting man into space (and returning him safely to earth) for the first time and the courage it required of those who were willing to go. That's a lot for one movie – and might be too much for many – but "Hidden Figures" is up to the challenge.

The film is an adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly's book of the same name and follows three black women who worked in NASA's computer section in 1961. That's not to say that they worked on computers – THEY were the computers. Back when electronic computers (with only a fraction of the capacity and speed of today's mainframes) took up an entire room – and were just beginning to be installed in places like NASA – talented mathematicians did calculations for the space program by hand.

Dorothy Vaughn (Oscar winner Octavia Spencer) is a mathematician who is also mechanically-inclined, develops a talent for programming IBM computers and is a natural leader, but is denied a well-deserved supervisory position by NASA culture – and her supervisor (Kirsten Dunst). Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is a brilliant mathematician who struggles to balance the demands of her increasing responsibilities at NASA with caring for her three young daughters whose father has passed away. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) is an outspoken aspiring engineer who is held back from becoming an actual engineer because of her lack of education, which she has difficulty overcoming because of segregation.

All three women make progress in their attempts to reach their goals and fulfill their potential, but with much difficulty, based on their gender and their race. Dorothy has been managing the women of the computer section for some time, but has to fight for the title and the pay – and even takes it upon herself to learn more about NASA's newly-arrived IBM computer, while understanding that doing so could eventually cost her and her co-workers their jobs. Mary continues to make valuable contributions to NASA's efforts, while trying to work through the catch-22 of needing additional education to become an engineer, with the only nearby school offering such classes refusing to accept any black students.

But most of the screen time belongs to Katherine's story. As the most talented mathematician of all of NASA's human computers, she is called up to work in NASA's Space Task Group where she works directly with the standoffish Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons) and is supervised by the group's director, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). Even as Katherine continues to demonstrate her capabilities, she is still subjected to drinking coffee from a pot labeled "Colored" and having to walk 20 minutes (each way) to the building where the nearest restroom for black females is located. Eventually, she earns the respect of her peers – and comes to the attention of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) himself, who comes to trust her calculations above all others. Katherine also attracts a different kind of attention from the commander of a local Army Reserve base, Lt. Col. Jim Johnson (Mahershala Ali), who is also single. Embodying the dual meaning of the movie's title, Katherine works out the hidden figures needed for Glenn's mission and Jim doesn't mind that her figure is hidden beneath those unflattering 1960s dresses, as he comes to care more about her heart – and the very sharp mind hidden behind her even less flattering eye glasses.

"Hidden Figures" is a marvelously entertaining film. The script adaptation by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi tells its true story accurately and engagingly, weaving its many story lines together seamlessly, educating and entertaining their audience throughout. Melfi also directs and uses his talented and award-worthy cast to thrill us, to make us cheer and give us moments of humor and just plain fun. I was impressed at how much this movie packed in without seeming cluttered, how much it affected me emotionally without being manipulative, and how much appreciation I gained for these women, their struggles and the importance of the times in which they lived and accomplished so much. It's also surprising that so little has been widely known about these women – until now. Don't let "Hidden Figures" be a hidden treasure. See it soon! It's… out of this world. "A+"


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