Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Karan Kendrick, Aldis Hodge
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Bio-drama directed and co-written by Theodore Melfi. Hidden Figures (2016) tells the untold true story of three brilliant African-American women, Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history, the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glenn Powell) into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return. A stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence and turned around the Space Race. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Marion Smithson: [1926 – Katherine’s parents are meeting with her principal and teacher] West Virginia Collegiate Institute is the best school for N****s in the state.
Ms. Sumner: It’s the only school past the eighth grade anywhere near here.
Young Katherine Coleman: [to herself as she does math calculations] Isosceles. Scalene. Equilateral. Rhombus. Trapezoid.
Joshua Coleman: Katherine’s in the sixth grade.
Ms. Sumner: They want to take her early.
Young Katherine Coleman: [to herself] Tetrahedron. Dodecahedron.
Marion Smithson: They’re offering a full scholarship. All you have to do is get there.
Young Katherine Coleman: [to her class after solving the math equation] If the product of two terms is zero, then common sense says at least one of the two terms has to be zero to start with. So if you move all the terms over to one side, you can put the quadratics into a form that can be factored, allowing that side of the equation to equal zero. Once you’ve done that, it’s pretty straightforward from there.
Ms. Sumner: [to the Coleman’s, referring to Katherine] In all my years of teaching I’ve never seen a mind like the one your daughter has.
Dorothy Vaughan: [1961 – Dorothy is under the car trying to fix] Okay, try to turn it over now. Katherine! Mary! Somebody!
Mary Jackson: Katherine! Quit staring off into space and turn the damn car over.
Katherine Johnson: I got it! I’m not deaf.
Mary Jackson: I wonder sometimes.
'Every time we have a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line.' - Mary Jackson (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Katherine Johnson: [tries to turn on the car] Here it goes.
Dorothy Vaughan: Yeah, it’s the starter. That is definitely the starter.
Mary Jackson: This starter is starting to make us late. We are all going to end up unemployed, riding around in this pile of junk to work every day.
Dorothy Vaughan: Well, you’re welcome to walk the sixteen miles.
Katherine Johnson: Or sit in the back of the bus.
Mary Jackson: I won’t do neither. I’ll hitchhike.
Mary Jackson: [as she goes to hitchhike she notices a police car approaching them] Girls.
Dorothy Vaughan: No crime in a broken-down car.
Mary Jackson: No crime being N**** neither.
Katherine Johnson: Button it up, Mary. Nobody wants to go to jail behind your mouth.
Mary Jackson: I’ll do my best, sugar.
White Cop: Not a great place for three of y’all be having car trouble.
Mary Jackson: We didn’t pick the place, Officer. It picked us.
White Cop: Are you being disrespectful?
Mary Jackson: No, sir.
White Cop: You have identification on you?
Mary Jackson: Yes, sir.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir. We’re just on our way to work at Langley. NASA, sir.
Dorothy Vaughan: [as they show him their IDs] We do a great deal of the calculating, getting our rockets into space.
White Cop: All three of you?
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir.
Mary Jackson: Yes, Officer.
White Cop: NASA, now that’s something. I had no idea they hired…
Dorothy Vaughan: There are quite a few women working in the space program.
White Cop: Damn Russians are watching us right now. Sputniks. You girls ever meet those astronauts? Mercury Seven?
Mary Jackson: Absolutely.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir. We work with those gentlemen all the time.
White Cop: Those boys are the best we got. I’m sure of that.
Katherine Johnson: Yeah.
Mary Jackson: Yeah.
White Cop: We got to get a man up there before the commies do.
Katherine Johnson: Yes.
Mary Jackson: Absolutely.
White Cop: Whole damn country’s counting on them.
Dorothy Vaughan: That’s for certain.
Mary Jackson: Hard being of service broken down on the side of the road though.
White Cop: Right, right. Well, do y’all need a tow or something?
Dorothy Vaughan: No, thank you, Officer. I think I got it.
'We all get to the peak together, or we don't get there at all.' - Al Harrison (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Dorothy Vaughan: [referring to the car] Just need to bypass the starter.
Katherine Johnson: She’s good at this stuff.
Dorothy Vaughan: [gets the car started] Wooh! Attagirl. We’re all set.
White Cop: Well, hell, the least I can do is give y’all an escort. I imagine you’re running late to work.
Katherine Johnson: Oh, no, sir. We wouldn’t want to bother you.
Mary Jackson: That would be wonderful, Officer. Thank you so much, sir.
White Cop: Follow me.
Mary Jackson: I’m driving. Hurry up, Dorothy, before he changes his mind.
Dorothy Vaughan: We’re coming. Hold your horses.
Dorothy Vaughan: [as they’re following the cop who’s escorting them to work] Mary, slow down. You’re too close!
Mary Jackson: Be quiet. He said to follow him.
Dorothy Vaughan: He didn’t mean up his behind!
Katherine Johnson: Dear Lord, I don’t even know where to begin!
Mary Jackson: Oh, I’ll tell you where to begin. Three N**** women are chasing a white police officer down the highway in Hampton, Virginia in 1961. Ladies, that there is a God-ordained miracle.
Katherine Johnson: And tomorrow, I’m riding the bus.
Jim Webb: A damn dog and a damn mannequin. And then, a 1.6 megaton RDS-37 thermonuclear warhead drops down in the middle of Des Moines.
Paul Stafford: Well, that’s a pretty big jump, sir.
Jim Webb: What?
Paul Stafford: Just that…
Jim Webb: Who the hell is he?
Al Harrison: Paul Stafford, our lead engineer, Mr. Webb. I think what he meant to say is that speculation, at least on our side of the equation by definition, can be just a little dangerous.
Jim Webb: Dangerous? You know what’s dangerous, Mr. Stafford? Inaction and indecision. The Russians have a spy satellite lapping the planet, taking pictures of God knows what! The President is demanding an immediate response. No more delay. Alan Shepard, John Glenn, your uncle Bob, it doesn’t matter. Get us up there, Harrison. We can’t justify a space program that doesn’t put anything in space.
Al Harrison: [referring to their meeting with Jim Webb] How did that feel in there, Paul? You think you enlightened the administrator? Hm? No, he didn’t look enlightened to me. He look enlightened to you, Sam?
Sam Turner: Not particularly.
Al Harrison: And just so you know, he’s not wrong about what he said in there. You know that, right? Because now that they can get up there, a bomb will follow. It’s what happens to all our good ideas. I imagine theirs too. Where’s the machine?
Ruth: Any day now, Mr. Harrison.
Al Harrison: Any day now.
Ruth: Yes, sir.
'We go from being our father's daughters, to our husband's wives, to our babies mothers.' - Mary Jackson (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Al Harrison: What’s it called? The initials?
Ruth: The IBM.
Paul Stafford: International Business Machines.
Al Harrison: Space is a business. I need a mathematician.
Ruth: I’ll put in another request, sir.
Al Harrison: Another request. Jesus Christ. We don’t have a single person in this entire building that can handle analytic geometry?
Ruth: That’s what I’ve been told.
Al Harrison: Tell me something else, Ruth. Like we’re going to find such a person before the Russians plant a flag on the damn moon.
Vivian Mitchell: Space Task Group needs a computer, ASAP. Someone with a handle on analytic geometry. We can’t fill that position out of the east group.
Dorothy Vaughan: Permanent or temp?
Vivian Mitchell: Everything’s temporary, Dorothy. You have someone?
Dorothy Vaughan: Yes, ma’am. Katherine’s the gal for that. She can handle any numbers you put in front of her.
Vivian Mitchell: I’ll check her credentials. Didn’t think I’d come all the way down here.
Dorothy Vaughan: Mrs. Mitchell, If I could. My application for supervisor, ma’am. I was just wondering if they’re still considering me for that position.
Vivian Mitchell: Yes. Well, the official word is no. They’re not assigning a permanent supervisor for the colored group.
Dorothy Vaughan: May I ask why?
Vivian Mitchell: I don’t know why. I didn’t ask why.
Dorothy Vaughan: We need a supervisor, ma’am. We haven’t had one since Miss Jansen got sick. It’s been almost a year.
Vivian Mitchell: Things are working just fine as is.
Dorothy Vaughan: I’m doing the work of a supervisor.
Vivian Mitchell: Well, that’s NASA for you. Fast with rocket ships, slow with advancement. Get those trajectory calcs worked out, we need them for the Redstone test.
Karl Zielinski: There is another opening in the Engineer Training Program.
Mary Jackson: Flat head rivets would reduce wind drag.
Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with engineer’s mind should be an engineer. You can’t be a computer the rest of your life.
Mary Jackson: Mr. Zielinski, I’m a N**** woman. I’m not going to entertain the impossible.
Karl Zielinski: And I’m a Polish Jew whose parents died in a Nazi prison camp. Now I’m standing beneath a spaceship that’s going to carry an astronaut to the stars. I think we can say we are living the impossible. Let me ask you, if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?
Mary Jackson: I wouldn’t have to. I’d already be one.
'It's equal rights. I have the right to see fine in every color.' - Mary Jackson (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Vivian Mitchell: [escorting Katherine to the Space Task Group] Skirts must be worn past the knee. Sweaters are preferred to blouses. No jewelry. A simple pearl necklace is the exception. Your supervisor is Mr. Al Harrison, Director of the Space Task Group. You’ll write research, proof calculations, so forth. Do not talk to Mr. Harrison unless he talks to you. Not many computers last more than a few days. He’s been through a dozen in as many months. Come on, keep up. Things move fast around here. Your clearance.
Vivian Mitchell: They’ve never had a colored in here before, Katherine. Don’t embarrass me.
Sam Turner: [gives Katherine the trash can] This wasn’t emptied last night.
Katherine Johnson: I’m sorry, I’m not the custodian. Excuse me, ma’am. Mr. Harrison’s computer reporting.
Ruth: Take the desk in the back. I’ll get your work in a bit. Mr. Harrison won’t warm up to you, don’t expect it. Do your work, keep your head down.
Katherine Johnson: Thank you.
Ruth: Go on. Get settled.
Al Harrison: Ruth, what’s the status on that computer?
Ruth: She’s right behind you, Mr. Harrison.
Al Harrison: [turns and sees Katherine] Does she handle Analytic Geometry?
Ruth: Absolutely, and she speaks.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, sir. I do.
Al Harrison: Which one?
Katherine Johnson: Both. Geometry and speaking.
Al Harrison: You think you can find me the Frenet Frame for this data using the Gram-Schmidt…
Katherine Johnson: Orthogonalization algorithm. Yes, sir. I prefer it over Euclidean coordinates.
Al Harrison: Okay, good. Good, then I’m going to need it by the end of the day.
Katherine Johnson: Yes.
Al Harrison: I’m also going to ask you to check Mr. Stafford’s math as well as others on this floor from time to time.
Paul Stafford: I can handle that, Al.
Al Harrison: I’m sure you can, Paul. I’m sure they all can. But if that were the case, shingles wouldn’t be flying off the heat shield, now would they?
'Civil rights ain't always civil.' - Levi Jackson (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Al Harrison: [to the NASA workers] Just to be clear, in fourteen days, the Mercury Seven will be here for training, and I have no doubt in my mind that they’re going to be asking us questions about our work. I think that’s pretty reasonable given we’re putting a human on top of a missile, shooting him into space, and it’s never been done before. Because it’s never been done, everything we do between now and then is going matter. It’s going to matter to their wives, to their children. I believe it’s going matter to the whole damn country. So this Space Task Group will be as advertised. America’s greatest engineering and scientific minds are not going to have a problem with having their work checked. Are they, Paul?
Paul Stafford: No, sir.
Al Harrison: Good. So let’s have an amen, damn it.
NASA Worker: Amen. Amen!
Dorothy Vaughan: I haven’t been late one day in ten years. Haven’t been out sick. Haven’t complained. My work’s on time. It’s done right, it’s done well.
Mary Jackson: It’s not fair, that’s a fact.
Dorothy Vaughan: What’s not fair is having the responsibility of a supervisor, but not the title or the pay. And watching you two move on. Now, don’t get me wrong. Any upward movement is movement for us all. Just isn’t movement for me.
Katherine Johnson: Truth be told, Dorothy, I don’t even know if I can keep up in that room. I’ll be back with the computers in a week, or out of a job entirely.
Dorothy Vaughan: Oh, please. You’re better with the numbers than anyone in there, Katherine, and you know it. Just make that pencil move as fast as your mind does, you’ll be fine. And you, have some respect. Get your damn feet off my dashboard. This isn’t your living room. I sound like a supervisor, don’t I?
Mary Jackson: A mean old salty one.
Katherine Johnson: Riddled with authority, no question.
Dorothy Vaughan: You don’t mess with Mrs. Vaughan.
Katherine Johnson: You’re supposed to been asleep a long time ago.
Kathy Johnson: We just wanted to say goodnight. You’ve been gone for three hundred hours.
Katherine Johnson: I know, I work a full-time job now. You all know that. I have to be Mommy and Daddy. I miss your father just as much as anyone.
Kathy Johnson: He’s with the angels.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, he’s with all the angels.
Kathy Johnson: And he’s watching over us.
Katherine Johnson: Every minute, okay? That’s why we have to be strong. Alright?
Joylette, Constance, Kathy: Yes, Mama.
Katherine Johnson: Y’all get some rest, okay?
Constance Johnson: Are the Russians fixing to attack us?
Katherine Johnson: Where did you get that from?
Joylette Johnson: We had to hide under our desks today, all scrunched up.
Katherine Johnson: Okay, baby, that’s called a drill. It means, you practice safety just in case something happens. Truth is, we don’t know what they’re doing up there.
Constance Johnson: You going to space, too?
Katherine Johnson: No, baby. But I’m going to do what I can to help those brave men get there. Yes, I am.
Kathy Johnson: You could fly up to space if you wanted to, Mama. You could be an astronaut.
Levi Jackson: [to Mary] I don’t want to see you get hurt. NASA’s never ever given you guys your due. Having a couple of extra degree ain’t going to change that. Civil rights ain’t always civil.
Mary Jackson: That Colonel Jim is a tall glass of water.
Dorothy Vaughan: That he is. Tall, strong, demanding.
Mary Jackson: And I bet he’s like it day and night.
Katherine Johnson: Mary, it’s Sunday. Please have some shame.
Mary Jackson: I will not.
Dorothy Vaughan: I think he’s smiling over here.
Mary Jackson: [to Katherine] At you.
Katherine Johnson: Well I’m not smiling back.
Dorothy Vaughan: Yes, you are.
Mary Jackson: Oh, child, you are all teeth right now.
Katherine Johnson: I am not.
'It's not because we wear skirts. It's because we wear glasses.' - Katherine Johnson (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Mary Jackson: [referring to Jim] He’s coming over.
Katherine Johnson: Now why would he be doing that?
Dorothy Vaughan: Because Mary’s waving at him.
Katherine Johnson: No! Ladies, I’m not ready.
Mary Jackson: Shh. It’s too late. Fix your hair.
Dorothy Vaughan: Hello, Colonel. I’m Dorothy Vaughn. That’s Mary Jackson. I believe you met her husband, Levi.
Colonel Jim Johnson: Yes, ma’am. Nice to meet you all.
Dorothy Vaughan: And this is Katherine Goble.
Mary Jackson: She’s not married. She’s a widower, with three beautiful little girls, so well-behaved. Angels on earth is what we like to call them. Dorothy, slice of pie?
Dorothy Vaughan: I’d love one. Excuse me.
Katherine Johnson: [Mary and Dorothy start to walk off] You already have a slice of pie, Dorothy.
Dorothy Vaughan: Uh-huh.
Colonel Jim Johnson: Pastor mentioned you’re a computer at NASA.
Katherine Johnson: Yes.
Colonel Jim Johnson: What’s that entail?
Katherine Johnson: Oh, we calculate the mathematics necessary to enable launch and landing for the space program.
Colonel Jim Johnson: That’s pretty heady stuff.
Katherine Johnson: Yes, it is.
Colonel Jim Johnson: They let women handle that sort of… That’s not what I mean.
Katherine Johnson: What do you mean?
Colonel Jim Johnson: I’m just surprised that something so taxing…
Katherine Johnson: Mr. Johnson, if I were you I’d quit talking right now.
Colonel Jim Johnson: I didn’t mean no disrespect.
Katherine Johnson: I will have you know, I was the first N**** female student at West Virginia University Graduate School. On any given day, I analyze the manometer levels for air displacement, friction, and velocity, and compute over ten thousand calculations by cosine, square root, and lately, Analytic Geometry, by hand. There are twenty bright, highly capable N**** women in the West Computing Group, and we’re proud to be doing our part for the country. So, yes, they let women do some things at NASA, Mr. Johnson. And it’s not because we wear skirts. It’s because we wear glasses. Have a good day.
'You act right, you are right. That's for certain.' - Dorothy Vaughan (Hidden Figures) Click To Tweet
Dorothy Vaughan: That’s Alan Shepard, US Navy pilot. He could be the first man in space. And that’s Scott Carpenter and Walter Schirra, also Navy pilots. All under 5’11”, a hundred eighty pounds. IQs over 130.
Mary Jackson: And handsome must be a requirement too.
Katherine Johnson: How could you possibly be ogling these white men?
Mary Jackson: Well, it’s equal rights. I have the right to see fine in every color.
Dorothy Vaughan: That’s John Glenn. He’s the only Marine Corps pilot.
Ruth: Gentlemen, if we may, much to see around here.
John Glenn: Well, heck, we haven’t shaken all the hands yet.
Ruth: We have a fairly tight itinerary, Colonel.
Al Harrison: Ruth, he’s fine.