‘Hidden Figures’, just as the title suggests, deals with the individuals overlooked by history that has largely been written by male figures. This 2016 movie takes a look at the black female mathematicians who were working at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), during the space race. Basically, the film deals with the mathematicians who calculated the trajectories of the flight for Project Mercury and other missions. Naturally, being women of color, it is easy to overlook the team working behind the scenes, whose contributions are actually instrumental in the success of NASA’s missions. The movie, which is based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction book of the same name, attempts to change that. Upon release, ‘Hidden Figures’ was very well received and was nominated for three Oscars. Obviously, now you must be wondering where you can watch the movie. However, before we tell you that, let us first walk you through the story of the movie.
What is Hidden Figures About?
The premise of ‘Hidden Figures’ starts in 1961 as we are introduced to the chief characters. Katherine Goble is a mathematician who works as a human computer in the West Area Computers division in Langley, Virginia. Her colleagues include Mary Jackson, an aspiring engineer, and Dorothy Vaughan, their unofficial acting supervisor. The entire unit is segregated by race and sex.
After the successful Soviet launch of Yuri Gagarin, there is an added pressure on NASA to show results. In order to launch American astronauts into space, Vivian Mitchell, the supervisor, assigns Katherine to Al Harrison’s Space Task Group, due to her skills in analytic geometry. She becomes the first black woman in the team and naturally faces backlash from her colleagues, especially engineer Paul Stafford, who is dismissive of her abilities. In the meanwhile, Mary is assigned to the heat shield team of the space capsule where she finds a flaw in the design. Dorothy is informed she will not be promoted since there are no plans to have a permanent supervisor for the group that involves people of color.
As far Mary’s work is concerned, she is encouraged to apply for an official NASA engineer’s position. However, she is told that apart from her impressive mathematics and physical science degrees, she needs some certification courses that are offered at the all-white Hampton High School. Determined not to be denied, Mary files a petition to attend the school. All the while, Katherine faces hurdles as well but leaves Harrison impressed by developing the solution to a mathematical equation. Over time, Harrison also abolishes some of the racism that is prevalent, like segregated bathrooms. However, when push comes to shove, he also tells Katherine to remove her name from the paper, which is credited solely to Stafford.
Coming to Mary, she faces a victory in her life when she convinces a judge about being on the right side of history and gets him to allow her to attend the school, though she can only go to the night classes. Dorothy, meanwhile, learns that computers are replacing humans and realizes that she must stay ahead of the game. Despite severe difficulties, she teaches herself programming and is promoted to supervise the department. Perhaps more impressively, she also gains the respect of Mitchell, who addresses her as ‘Mrs. Vaughan’. Once the final arrangements for John Glenn’s launch are made, Katherine is informed that her services are no longer required on the team. However, she leaves with the respect of her teammates. On the day of the launch, there are some troubles with the calculations on the electronic computer and Katherine is called in to save the day. Glenn, the astronaut, is impressed and even her boss allows her to relay the news to him.
After the successful mission, we see that electronic computers have completely replaced the human computers. Katherine, as a result, is reassigned to the Analysis and Computation Division. Dorothy continues to act as the supervisor to the programming department, while Mary is successfully employed at NASA as an engineer. Stafford, who was always on Katherine’s side, is shown bringing her a cup of coffee and accepting that her name should be included in the report. The epilogue of the movie reveals that Katherine went on to calculate the trajectories of Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle missions. In 2015, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The next year, NASA dedicated the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Building at the Langley Research Center, in her honor.
Now, without further ado, let us tell you where you can watch ‘Hidden Figures’.
Is Hidden Figures on Netflix?
Netflix has an amazing collection of films and television shows that sets it apart as a premier content provider. While ‘Hidden Figures’ is not on the platform, you can always check out Ava DuVernay’s ‘When They See Us‘, an incisive and thoughtful exploration of how racism exists in society and how it colors our daily perceptions. It is a cautionary tale of how our hatred for people of different races can be amplified at times of perceived attacks and how several innocent people become victims due to this mindset.
Is Hidden Figures on Hulu?
Hulu has a smart collection of films and television shows and the platform keeps adding to its content in order to cater to a diverse audience and to stay ahead of the competition. Though ‘Hidden Figures’ is not on Hulu, you can check out ‘If Beale Street Could Talk‘, which tells the story of racial prejudice as a woman has to fight to clear her fiance’s name, who has been falsely imprisoned.
Is Hidden Figures on Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime has a wonderful collection of films and television shows which is perhaps only bested by Netflix. While ‘Hidden Figures’ is not available for Prime subscribers as is, you have the option of buying and watching it on the platform. It costs $14.99 to purchase the movie. You can check it out here.
Where Can I Stream Hidden Figures Online?
No subscriptions to the major platforms? No worries. Head over to YouTube, Vudu or FandangoNow, to watch ‘Hidden Figures’. You can rent or buy the movie here. It costs $3.99 to rent it and $14.99 to buy it. Vudu and Fandango Now have the SD, HD and Ultra HD versions. Obviously, we recommend renting it.
Where Can I Watch Hidden Figures Online For Free?
Sorry to disappoint the freeloaders, but there is no way to watch ‘Hidden Figures’ for free at the moment. You have to wait until it arrives on one of the platforms that has a free trial period, using which you can watch the film. However, we would like to urge all readers to pay for the art that they consume.