Have you heard about Hidden Figures? Released in the United States at the end of December, it is a biographical feature film directed by Theodore Melfi that traces the incredible story of three African-American women mathematicians. They worked for NASA’s space programme in the sixties, assisting on John Glenn’s orbit of the earth, and carved out a space for themselves in a field where women were, and still are, immensely under-represented. According to reports, women across America made up 64 percent of the audience for the film this week, and it made $22.8 million at the box office last weekend, and is currently being called ‘the number one movie in America’.
“I need a mathematician who can look beyond the numbers… math that doesn’t yet exist” is what they’re told. Watch actresses Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae slay, break out of norms that tell them to go from being “father’s daughters to husband’s wives”, battle racism, and tell it like it is to cops who stop them or arrogant strangers wondering aloud why NASA allows women to handle computers. If all this doesn’t sound enough, the film has an amazing soundtrack, with plenty of Pharell Williams and Mary J Blige.