writing skills: film review | hidden figures | ESL & ELT

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world.

The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

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

Director: Theodore Melfi

Writers: Allison Schroeder (screenplay), Theodore Melfi (screenplay)

Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Plot Keywords: nasa | segregation | space program | mathematician | african american

Taglines: Meet the women you don’t know, behind the mission you do

Genres: Biography | Drama | History

Certificate: PG

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 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.               

Movies about the American space program almost always feature white men, but Hidden Figures centers around the life of Katherine Johnson, who’s played by Taraji P. Henson.

Hidden Figures tells the true story of the black women mathematicians who worked behind the scenes to help launch Americans into orbit for the first time, at the height of the civil rights movement in the South.

“They’re going to show you where I lived and what trouble I got into,” Johnson told VICE News correspondent Dexter Thomas in Newport News, Virginia.


OUAT Founder and Owner Ryan Heathcock spoke with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the book, Hidden Figures. Hidden Figures is the true story of the first women of color hired to work with what would eventually become NASA. 
The interview took place in Richmond, Virginia at the 101st ASALH Conference book signing event.

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