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Although NASA is strictly segregated, with the black mathematicians occupying their own office, Katherine is the most gifted computer on the site.

Racism may not be overt within the Langley facility, but it's present.

Hidden Figures is steeped in science, technology, engineering, and math, so anyone that's interested in STEM would love that aspect of this movie.

Against all odds, another West Virginia mathematician with an equally fascinating story, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. native and West Virginia State University and WVU graduate Katherine Johnson, is the subject of the new film, "Hidden Figures". The struggles with racial equality during that period was at a high point, yet it took a specialized group of African American women to make huge strides in our countries ability to send a man into space. Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons round out the cast. "Fast with rocket ships, slow with advancements".

The film focuses on three women: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). "And it highlights three people who, because they were women and because they were African-American, didn't get the credit they deserved for their input or contribution to this". "Hidden Figures" is quietly, cumulatively, calmly gratifying. Most of Katherine's co-workers resent her presence, but she earns the respect of the project's director, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner).

Goble makes herself belong by being indispensable. It shows the dismissive attitudes toward black women from whites at NASA.

As aspiring engineer Mary Jackson, Janelle Monae gets the best lines and lends a touch of poised glamour to the proceedings that evokes Diahann Carroll in her '60s Julia heyday.

Don't miss a thing. Under much pressure from the space race with the Soviet Union, NASA's teams of engineers and scientists are working with intense fervor to not only put the astronauts into space, but to also bring them home safely. Glenn, who died last month, is presented as a forward-thinking and progressive man who bonds with Catherine, realizing that it's her math he's depending on for survival.

The space race is going full bore in 1961, when Russian Federation beat the US into orbit, sending a dog, a satellite and then Yuri Gargarin into space before the Americans did. For instance, as Johnson was making monumental calculations for the likes of Alan Shepard, she wasn't allowed to use bathrooms in her building or drink from the same coffee pot as her white counterparts. I'm not having to do this for the first time ever. They see themselves in her.

But "Hidden Figures", punctuated by bright original songs by Pharrell Williams (who also collaborated with Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch on the score), avoids numerous typical notes of a civil rights drama and keeps its focus on its three indomitable leads and their characters' private lives.

Co-writer and director Melfi (who directed the equally sentimental and quite terrific Bill Murray vehicle "St. Vincent" a couple of years ago) announces the borderline corny tone of "Hidden Figures" from the get-go, with Mary, Dorothy and Katherine stranded after their auto breaks down.


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