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Hi, It’s Danielle here with a quick update about my experience with watching Hidden Figures this weekend.
It was a Friday afternoon, 12:40 PM Eastern to be exact, and I found myself sitting in a theater surrounded by elementary students who also planned to watch a movie.
As a personal note, if at all possible, don’t go to the movies when a school decides to bus in gaggles of children. Ask for a refund and comeback later, because…ugh. One child sat behind me and asked his friend numerous questions throughout the movie. Even his friend felt it was too much and told the boy, “be quiet and watch, and your questions will be answered”. LOL The boy was either too young to understand what was going on, or his teachers had not sufficiently prepared him for the movie. At one point the child asked if Katherine’s constant running to the bathroom was for comedic purposes.
Also, during any romantic and/or kissing scenes, the young audience members felt the appropriate response was to say “ewww” in unison.
Thankfully, there were some adults in the theater who laughed when adult level jokes were made. Their laughter reassured me that I was not alone in that sea of tiny humans.
Hidden Figures is the title of a book written by Margot Lee Shetterly, and a film starring Taraji P Henson as Katherine Goble Johnson, Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson, and Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan.
Johnson, Jackson, and Vaughan are real women who had truly inspiring stories that have been hidden from general public knowledge for years.
The movie gives us a glimpse into the personal and professional lives of these outstanding Black women at NACA and NASA during the time of The Space Race.
Each woman started her career as a part of the “colored computers” group. And each woman, in her own way, advanced her career and broke barriers for future women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
During their careers, Katherine became a physicist, Mary became an engineer, and Dorothy became a FORTRAN programmer. While Dorothy had other titles, this one touches me the most because my mother was also a programmer.
Released to a limited audience on December 25, 2016 and a wide audience on January 6, 2017, the film has a run time of 2 hours and 7 minutes and had a production budget of $25 million. As of this recording, the movie has grossed almost $40 million.
I am ending this episode with a special acknowledgement to my grandmother. She was born in the 1920s, attended college, joined a sorority, and worked as a science and math teacher for 33 years before she retired. While my grandmother did not become a computer for NASA, she did influence her daughters and grandchildren as we all work in or with science and math at various career levels. One of my cousins worked for IBM, another is an engineer, and the other has 2 undergraduate degrees related to science.
After seeing this movie, I thought a lot about my grandmother and decided to give her a call and let her know how much she means to me. I then contacted my friend Valerie to find out if my 8-year old goddaughter had seen the movie. She has, and her mother reports that she is now more willing to wear her glasses.
I hope this movie inspires you like it inspired me.
Oh, and on a petty note (and as Dustin from The Friend Zone podcast would say) if you want to witness some true posts of disbelief and laugh at tears of the haters, visit the movie’s IMDB.com message board because supposedly some believe there is NO way this movie could be number 1 at the box office. Podcast Audio – CSL Thoughts Out Loud – Hidden Figures