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Hidden Figures

ages 12+ | 90 % Say It's Worth Your Time

A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions.


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Genre: Drama

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Rated PG Rated PG for thematic elements and some language

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  • Dove Foundation

    No Maturity Rating | Not Worth Your Time

    This is a story that may not have been known by many. It is encouraging to others and shows how times have changed since those days in the world. “Hidden Figures” is an exceptionally stirring movie. Unfortunately, it is marred by a single misuse of the name “Jesus Christ” which prevents us from awarding this film our Dove Seal.

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  • ages 10+ | Worth Your Time

    Parents need to know that Hidden Figures is based on the inspiring true story of three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA in the 1950s and '60s as "human computers" -- making calculations and contributions that helped launch the manned spaceflight program. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) were engineers and computers at NASA at a time when both women and African Americans were still widely discriminated against, particularly in segregationist Virginia. where NASA's Langley Research Center is based. There's a little bit of romance (a few kisses, flirty comments, and slow dancing) and a bit of salty language (mostly along the lines of "damn" and "Jesus Christ" as an exclamation). The film also offers a realistic look at the racial tensions of the Civil Rights era (segregated bathrooms, libraries, schools, facilities), and audiences will learn a lot about these pioneering women and what they had to overcome to make their mark at NASA. They're excellent role models, and their story is full of positive messages and themes, including integrity, perseverance, teamwork, and communication.

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  • (Female)

    ages 12+ | Worth Your Time

    Grade: A Rating: PG, 127 minutes In a Nutshell: Based on true events, this uplifting film with a fantastic title shines the spotlight on some overlooked figures in history. While the movie features new math that was invented in order to get the first man to the moon, it was really about these African-American women who struggled as second-class citizens during the Civil Rights movement and who were pivotal to the success of NASA’s space program. The film sheds inspiring light on the space race and Jim Crow laws of the 1960’s, one that lifted mankind to new heights and one that pushed them down. This story was long overdue. Uplifting theme: “You know what’s dangerous? Inaction and indecision.” – Jim Webb (Ken Strunk) “Discovery is not just for the sake of discovery, but survival.” – Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) “I looked beyond.” – Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) “We set sail on this new sea because there is knowledge to be gained.” – Al Harrison “We all get to the peak together or we don’t’ get there at all.” – Al Harrison Things I liked: Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer truly light up the screen. All of their performances were stellar (pun intended, and true.) Janelle Monae is absolutely fantastic as Mary Jackson and is a true stand-out. From the minute you first see her on the screen, she radiates intelligence and determination. Mary’s speech to the judge was outstanding. She has been in a few small movies since 2014, but I’m sure her career is going to really take off after this movie (yep, another intentional space pun.) Pharell Williams does a great job blending the sound of the 60’s with music that sounds current to today’s audience. Click here if you'd like to relive the music: Hidden Figures: The Album There is a lot of humor and heart. You get to see real footage from historical NASA events during the film, as well as pictures of these three important women at the end of the movie. When I was little, my father held a top position at Lockheed. I remember going to visit the company at a special event for families. They proudly showed off their computer room, which was filled with gigantic computers that stood from floor to ceiling. It’s hard to believe that we can now fit a computer on our cell phones and in even smaller spaces. How wonderful it is to live in the Information Age when knowledge is so easily obtainable. They did a great job setting the 1960’s environment with rotary phones, typewriters, etc. Some of you young ones out there may have never seen those things before! Written and directed by Ted Melfi, who is more than welcome to bring more inspring stories like this to the Big Screen. John Glenn was considered a hottie of his day, appropriately played by Glen Powell. Things I didn’t like: I love award-winning Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory: Season 1, but his character pretty much just gave the stank face the entire time, not providing any big growth arc or allowing Jim to use his full talents. Even if you were really good at math, you’re probably going to realize you’re not as smart as you thought you were. Red tape and bureaucracy make me crazy. Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons’ characters epitomize all that is wrong with companies and organizations that have no vision or flexibility. That close-minded librarian just about made me want to scream when she said, “Well, that’s just the way it is.” I completely understand rules are designed for the benefit of all, but when they make no sense any more, they need to be changed. Dorothy Vaughan steals a book from a library and gives a compelling speech to her kids about why it was ok. While you feel the sense of injustice that the “colored” section of the library didn’t contain as many good books to choose from, it certainly doesn’t mean stealing is ok. There is a bit of reverse racism showing how all the white people are stupid and racist, while all the black people are brilliant and morally superior. Interesting lines: “Let me ask you: if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?” – Senator Patrick (Wilbur Fitzgerald) “I wouldn’t have to. I’d already be one.” – Mary Jackson “There’s no protocol for women attending.” – Paul Stafford “There’s no protocol for a man circling the earth either.” – Katherine Johnson “Who makes the rules?” – Al Harrison “You, Sir. You are the buss. You just have to act like one…Sir.” – Katherine “The kids need to see this. Everybody needs to see this.” – Levi Jackson (Aldis Hodge) “This IBM is gonna put us all out of work.” – Dorothy Vaughan “Every time we get close to winning, they move the finish line.” – Mary Jackson “Separate and equal are two different things.” – Dorothy Vaughan Funny lines: “Yes, they let women work at NASA, Mr. Johnson. And it’s not because we wear skirts. It’s because we wear glasses.” – Dorothy Vaughan “How can you be ogling these white men?” – Dorothy Vaughan “It’s equal rights. I can see fine in any color.” – Mary Jackson “Here at NASA, we all pee the same color.” – Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) Tips for parents: Yay math! This movie will make your case to your kids that math IS important and they should do their homework. The film highlights racism in the United States in the 1960’s and uses terms like “Negro” and “colored.” They’ll see images of colored-only bathrooms and drinking fountains, as well as see how whites and blacks were separated on busses and in the court room. Want to see more? If you want to learn more about the Civil Rights movement that took place in America in the 1950's and 60's, check out these VERY good movies: Lee Daniels' The Butler Loving Selma Freedom Writers The Help

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  • (Male) Catholic News Service

    Mature 18+ | Worth Your Time

    The struggles of the civil rights era provide the backdrop for the appealing fact-based drama "Hidden Figures" (Fox 2000). Along with a personalized insight into the injustices that still prevailed in American society in the early 1960s, director Theodore Melfi's adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly's book -- which centers on three extraordinarily gifted mathematicians working for NASA -- successfully re-creates the tension of the Cold War space race.

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  • (Male) Plugged In

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    When Mary begins talking about her ambitions of becoming an engineer, her husband, Levi, thinks she's delusional. "Freedom is never granted to the oppressed," he blusters. "It's got to be demanded. Taken." "There's more than one way to achieve something," she says. And, sometimes, indeed there is. Hidden Figures is an inspirational exercise in understated activism. The women here do not ignore the racism that colors their lives. But they resist it not with violence or protest but with skill and persistence. Yes, they ask for the rights that are rightfully theirs. But they do so with a sense of grace, humility and patience. They don't trust the system. But they find away to work within it to achieve their goals. And they change a lot of minds along the way. One afternoon, Dorothy and her supervisor, Mrs. Mitchell, run into each other in the bathroom—a meeting that would've been impossible before Al Harrison ripped down that sign. "You know, Dorothy," Mrs. Mitchell says, "Despite what you think, I have nothing against y'all." "I know," Dorothy says with a gentle smile. "I know you probably believe that." And she walks out. It's a moment of searing self-realization, perhaps. For when the two meet again, Mrs. Mitchell hands her a new assignment: an overdue promotion that Dorothy had been fighting for throughout the movie. Dorothy's surprised, but keeps it under wraps. "Thank you for the information, Mrs. Mitchell," she says. "You're quite welcome … Mrs. Vaughn." It's a beautifully understated sign of respect, that switch from Dorothy to Mrs. Vaughn, more important than the promotion itself. It's a measure of newfound equality. And in a way, for all its subtlety, it feels like the movie's greatest moment of triumph. Hidden Figures inspires as it entertains. It acknowledges racial divisions while insisting that there's more than one way to fix them. And while it can be crass, its heart is good.

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  • (Male) Crosswalk

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    This film never comes across as a lecture as it tells the story of three African-American women employed as 'human computers' by NASA during the 1960s overcoming sexism and racial prejudice. It’s instead an example of formulaic filmmaking done right—inspirational, enjoyable and educational. 4 out of 5.

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  • (Female) Movie Mom

    ages 8+ | Worth Your Time

    Henson, Spencer, and Janelle Monáe are clearly thrilled to have roles of such significance and depth and honor their characters with performances of wit and subtle charm. When Jackson has to go to court for the opportunity to take the evening classes at a segregated local high school that will qualify her for an engineering degree, when Vaughan decides to teach herself computer programming to make sure that the first-ever mainframe being installed at NASA does not make her work obsolete, when Johnson explains that it may be unprecedented to have a woman in the top-level meeting but it is also unprecedented to send a man to the moon, we see the power of their intellect and the steel in their souls. A light-hearted girl’s night shows us the support they gave each other and how much it meant to each of them.

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Okfor ages12+