I love these "little-known persons in history" films from Hollywood, especially when it comes to anything surrounding the glorious days of the global space race. Here's a new trailer for Hidden Figures, bringing to light a forgotten slice of Americana that I had never heard of, the true story of how a group of brilliant African-American women helped NASA get astronaut John Glenn into Earth orbit for the first time.
Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent), Hidden Figures is adapted from the nonfiction novel of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly. Placed in the turbulent times of the early ’60s amid racial strife and mounting Cold War tensions, it follows the struggle of African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson (Tajari P. Henson) and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), as they become recruited by NASA to assist with verifying number-crunching formulas required to get a man into orbit before the Russians. The real-life Johnson playfully referred to herself and her fellow female rocket scientists as “computers who wore skirts,” whose calculations determined the orbital trajectory for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 moon mission.
In a time when I've temporarily lost faith in Hollywood's ability to transport us with soaring superhero movies, it's nice to see them still able to produce these types of flag-waving tributes to inspirational heroes of a different nature whose feet were firmly planted on terra firma.
Hidden Figures also contains an excellent supporting cast including Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons and Mahershala Ali. Have a look at this rousing trailer and first poster celebrating the unheralded women who helped take us to outer space and tell us if you're on board when it opens Jan. 13, 2017.