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America, early 1960s: The race for the moon between the Soviet Union and the USA has reached its peak. NASA staff are desperately working on the first manned lunar mission. Among them are a team of Afro-American mathematicians, including Katherine G. Johnson (Tarjai P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). Separated from the white employees, the women remain largely invisible, even if they make an important contribution to the space program. It was not until Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), head of mission, brings Katherine into NASA's heart to calculate important flight data that the unrecognised heroines step more and more out of their shadowy existence. Nevertheless, their significance for the moon landing remains unknown for a long time…
"Hidden Figures: Unknown Heroines" is an extremely gripping drama that tells a largely unknown story based on true events. The film by Theodore Melfi ("St. Vincent") is based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, who traced this story with the help of eyewitness interviews and documents. Katherine G. Johnson, who is now well over 90 years old, was very taken with the interest in her life story and also met Tarjai P. Henson, who wanted to portray this great woman dignified on the screen. She has succeeded in doing the same with her two colleagues, who also deliver great performances. But also Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") and Kirsten Dunst deliver more than convincing performances and already make the movie a great pleasure in terms of acting.
Although Melfi's staging also helps to keep the viewer captivated from the story to the end. He finds the perfect balance between drama and humor. The difficulties and prejudices against which these women had to fight day after day become very clear. At the same time, the director also allows his viewers to have a good time and be perfectly entertained. Admittedly, there are some tough moments when it comes to the private lives of women outside NASA. However, these are necessary in order to show a complete picture of society at that time and what it was like for an Afro-American woman to be taken seriously as a mathematician, to work hard for many hours and then still be there as a mother for the family.
"Hidden Figures: Unknown Heroines" takes some dramaturgical liberties, but can still be understood as an important history lesson in tolerance and equality. An excellently played and extremely captivatingly staged film that has already been honored with numerous awards not without reason. Absolutely worth seeing!
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