Friday, January 27, 2017

Take Your Daughters To See Hidden Figures This Weekend

And while you're at it, take your sons, too. Take your friends and your family and your co-workers and friendly-looking passers-by, but especially - especially - take all the young women in your life, because wow, you guys. WOW.


I knew from the reviews this was going to be a great film, but Hidden Figures still knocked me back in my seat. Watching how these three women - and more like them - contributed to NASA and the space race of the 1960s was eye-opening to say the least, but done with so much heart and humor and in-your-face bravery that you WILL leave the theater ready to take on the world.

Hidden Figures shows the racism of the 60s at every turn, and those images and attitudes cut deep. They'll make you mad, because they should make you mad. But through every injustice, Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary prove themselves to be mighty warriors. They don't quit, they take the future into their own hands and work harder. They speak up. They educate themselves. They're brilliant and  strong. They show a dignity and a professionalism and an ethic we ALL need, perhaps more than ever today.

I love that each woman has a different path and a different set of obstacles, and overcomes them all completely on her own. There is no rescuing in this movie. No lucky breaks or the hand of fate. It's hard work and gritted teeth and more self-control then I *know* I'll ever have. Plus actors Taraji Henson (Katherine), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy), and Janelle Monae (Mary) bring these women to life with grace and steel; you couldn't ask for a better casting.
 

As for the other characters, it's odd seeing Sheldon from Big Bang Theory (aka Jim Parson) not wearing a geek shirt, but beyond that, he's essentially Sheldon minus the charm: arrogant and irritating. Kevin Costner shines as Director Al Harrison, though. You're gonna love him. And young John Glenn.


That's another thing: I like that Hidden Figures gives us light and love and humor among the struggle. We get to laugh and cry a few happy tears. We get to leave inspired to do more, and to do it better.

It's rated PG for "thematic elements" (?) and a little language, so this is a safe one for kids. No sex, and the only violence are brief news clips of protests.

So please, take your daughters, your granddaughters, your nieces and their friends, take them all to see Hidden Figures this weekend. Don't wait for the DVD. If for no other reason than to tell Hollywood: YES, THIS. We want more of this!


 And if I still haven't convinced you, then watch this trailer:



Now I'm off to Universal for their annual Harry Potter Celebration this weekend - stay tuned for pics!

36 comments:

  1. It has been far too long since I went to see a movie that the ENTIRE audience clapped when it ended. GO SEE IT!!!!!!

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    1. Our theater was the same. It was wonderful.

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  2. I haven't seen the movie yet (I'm purposefully avoiding anything that might make me too sad) but after reading this post, I will definitely see it. We need more movies like this!

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    1. It really isn't sad! I mean, obviously the whole concept is depressing, but it's such an uplifting film. Even the parts that are intense - Glenn in space - you know he survives so it's not as scary. I did tear up a few times, sometimes in frustration/sympathy and other times with pride. But I really don't think you will leave the theater anything but inspired. Being based on a true story keeps it grounded too I think, there aren't like plot device deaths or anything that we often get in dramatic films. Go! You will LOVE IT!

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    2. Although the struggles they go through will make you mad and sad, you will leave feeling EMPOWERED. It is so amazing!

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    3. I found it incredibly uplifting and empowering, not sad at all.

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    4. I am SUPER sensitive to movies that might make me cry and am avoiding them too right now. But this really gave me a huge lift and a boost that lasted all day. Go see it, it will make you feel great!

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    5. Happy tears!!! And there was a round of applause in the theater we attended during and after the movie.

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  3. Haven't seen the movie, but I've been reading the book. The prologue mentions that there were at least 50 black women and nearly 1000 women black and white working for NASA during this time as mathematicians, scientists, and researchers who never made the press photos, and almost never got their names on the research papers. As a woman with her name now on 23 research publications, I never realized what a debt I owed to ground-breaking women like these.

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    1. Yes, the movie only focuses on these three women but I think they do a good job of making the point that there were many contributions made by others. I love your comment about the debt you owe these women; I feel the same way. I'm so glad this story is being told.
      In a similar vein (that is, untold stories), I'm also reading Dava Sobel's book right now "The Glass Universe" talking about the contributions made by women astronomers at Harvard in the 1800s. I'm enjoying that one too.

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  4. I would just add, take your sons too! Not only do our daughters need to see strong female role models, our sons need to see them in those roles as well! Gotta teach that respect from a young age!

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  5. I agree with this so hard! Most empowering movie I've seen in a long time. If you are in the Fans of EPBOT group, I told you all this a week ago...If you didn't listen to me, listen to the Yates and hurry to the theaters now! :)

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  6. I haven't seen it yet, because the combination of needing a babysitter and third trimester pregnancy makes any theater movie experience tough. But this looks like an amazing movie, and I fully plan on watching it with both of my boys when they're old enough. I'd never even heard of this story until recently, between this and an episode of Timeless, and it's one I'd like my kids to know about much, much sooner.

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  7. We took our 7-year-old son. He missed a lot of the complexities, of course, but it was a good conversation starter. We talked about how stupid it was for Katherine to have to run miles a day just so she could use the bathroom, for example. It really gave him (and us) something concrete to grasp onto in understanding racism and sexism, both then and now.

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  8. I'm now mad because I thought it was already out in the UK and I'd be able to see it next weekend, but it turns out it's not out here until 17th February and getting to see it is probably going to be incredibly difficult for me. I REALLY want to see it though. Curse my lack of regular weekday car access and terrible public transport.

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  9. It was a great film, and we were all so thrilled to see Janelle Monae speak and lead the crowd in song from the stage of the Women's March in D.C. last Saturday. I had not heard of her before seeing the film.

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    1. I knew of her as a singer. She has a beautiful voice! I have her album The ArchAndroid and I love not only her voice and the different styles she does, but the overall theme of the album. She has a geeky bent and wrote it as a concept album in which the main character is an android. Now that I know she's in this movie, I'll have to go see it!

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  10. This is NOT a sad movie. This is a movie of hope. This is a movie of "We need to be better and work for it. And if we work for it, we can do it."

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  11. Thanks for this. It flew under my radar, now I'm thinking I need to see it. I need to feel empowered right now.

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  12. Please go see the movie or buy the book. There's even a young readers version of the book. The courage and determination of these wonderful women shines through both print and screen. Be the advocate for young people who have that STEM interest.

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  13. My roommate and I went to see this with another of my friends this past Tuesday and it was everything and more that you hope for. It is full of sass and sadness and determination and elegance and charm and laughter and heartache and... It deserves far more love than I've seen it being given. Especially from the Oscars. Really? Only 3 nominations? Pffft.

    Anyway, my roomie broke down in tears finally as we left. It worried me but then she explained that this movie meant so much to her because, well... She was in the Air Force in the 70's and did computer work and she was still fighting sexism and being the "odd one out." She was the only woman in her particular tech school. So watching a movie dedicated to 3 women who really pushed and made a difference in her field before she got to it? She could not help but get emotional.

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  14. Fantastic movie! I also found this page http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/hidden-figures/ to be very helpful as far as understanding what was a dramatization after seeing the movie.

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  15. YES! This movie was so amazing. Last year, I did a huge podcast project where I was featuring 365 women in STEM and randomly heard President Obama mention Kathryn Johnson, and then from that research I found out about this story and the book, and then the movie. So I've been anxiously waiting for it for a year now, and I knew from what I'd read that these women deserved a movie worthy of what they'd accomplished. Hidden Figures delivers.

    Their lives are so rich and inspiring, and they're portrayed in such a wonderful way. They're not superheroes, but they're not going to be held back when they know they can get the job done. And their perseverance helped change the face of NASA in the years that followed. Mary Jackson actually went on to work in HR and promote their Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action programs. She personally helped diversify the workforce because she didn't just blaze a trail on her own, she turned around and made sure others could follow her.

    These women should be household names, they're excellent role models.

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  16. Thematic Elements for the PG rating was because racism is a serious issue that parents should address with their children in their own way. Thematic elements such as racism, Homosexuality, sex, abortion etc always get a Parental Guidance (PG) rating instead of a General (G) rating. Just putting it out there because the (?) made me think you were confused by this.

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  17. We're planning to go as a family this weekend - me, my son, math professor husband, and daughter who's off to college next year to major in math and work to make a good education available to all. This is right up our alley!

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  18. Jen, I'm going to recommend Rise of the Rocket Girls if you haven't read it. It's also about the women who made space travel possible. Both of my nieces excel in STEM, and I want them to be proud rather than scared.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I'd be interested in reading more about this topic.

      -Just Andrea

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  19. Best movie I've seen in a long time. I saw it the first weekend it was out, and the audience clapped at the end.

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  20. I've been looking forward to seeing this!

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  21. Katherine had such a geeky, slightly awkward charm to her, and when she finally had her blow up scene, I started crying in the theater. Taraji Henson should have gotten an oscar nod on that scene alone.

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  22. Cyndie - thanks so much for that link!! I had not seen that before and it answered so many questions I had after seeing the movie!

    A girlfriend and I saw this on ML King Day which made it extra powerful and I can't wait until my preschool-aged daughter is old enough to see this, for the girls in STEM aspect but also because it's a potent visual reminder that minorities (and women) are still subjected to discrimination, particularly in the south where we live. It was refreshing to see such a powerful but also uplifting movie!

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  23. I had no idea what this movie was about when a friend invited me to go with her. I just knew it was some kind of 50's/60's movie (based on the billboard ad). I don't have TV and I don't go to the movies often, so I hadn't seen any trailers.

    This movie blew me away. It's so much awesome. The leads were fantastic. The writing was well done. It made you feel so many different things, but in the end it was inspiring and triumphant. The audience was engaged; we clapped, laughed, cried. It was a really great experience all around.

    I almost never choose to watch movies in the theater more than once. I want to watch this movie again and again. I plan to take my 19yo son. Maybe we will go this weekend... : D

    -Just Andrea

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  24. For a movie set within segregation, it is quite amazingly the most uplifting movie I have seen lately. My daughters, who requested to see it, and I loved it so much. I cannot recommend it enough. We need so much more like this.

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  25. I saw this on Friday and loved it; it's truly inspiring. One of the things I particularly liked is that the movie shows the three leads supporting each other: they're not just colleagues, they're friends, too. So often movies only portray women as rivals with each other. It's refreshing to see female friendship onscreen.

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  26. This really is a great movie. I was genuinely concerned about John Glenn even though I *knew* he survived and went on to have a long career (good work, movie makers!). And what a nice guy!
    I saw the movie with friends from my STEM college, and it was funny how people's favorite character broke out based on what part of STEM *we* are. Like, my husband is a computer scientist and he really liked Dorthy (because he can really understand how hard FORTRAN is and what she did), and my mathematician friend actually understood (some) of what Katherine was doing. I'm a biologist, but as I just finished a degree while working full time I could totally get behind Mary.

    And here's what a math professor friend said to me "It's great that they're all moms, and that everyone is OK with them being moms and working full time and that they're part of a community and not 'lone geniuses'." So it even speaks to people who are already in the industry, and not just to people who haven't yet started their careers.

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  27. I didn't realise it was out now! I can't wait to go see it!

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