As we plan for our Oscar parties on Sunday, the Best Picture nominee we can’t stop talking about is Hidden Figures. You’ve seen it, right? If not, go. Tonight. Now. As soon as possible. Seriously: GO.
We love the spunk of the main characters, the inspiring ending [fist pump], and that it’s based on a true story. There are so many things we can learn from this movie. These are a few of our faves.
1. Know your own worth.
While others in the story may have discounted their contributions, our three heroines—Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer)—knew they had what it takes to get the job done. They were confident in themselves and each other.
2. Sometimes you have to make a fuss.
After getting called on the carpet for having to take a ridiculously long dash to the only ladies room available to her, Katherine tells her story without holding back. It was exactly what she needed to do. Her supervisor made a scene of his own, personally busting down the sign that segregated restrooms.
3. Plan for the future.
Dorothy served as a supervisor long before she got the title. When she discovered a giant machine could soon replace her entire department, Dorothy worked with, not against, the new arrival. She didn’t just save her own job; she trained all her people and brought them along with her.
4. Don’t give up.
Mary was excluded from being an engineer because education classes were not open to her. It could have been the death of her dream . . . but with some encouragement, a brave step, and a cleverly devised plan, she made it happen.
5. Do what’s right, even when it’s not expected.
When astronauts paraded through the facility to meet the staff, the men made their way past white employees and were directed to go on into the building—but John Glenn protested. He went out of his way to greet the black team members. It seemed something that was probably a small thing to him, but huge to our three women.
6. We need each other.
As Kevin Costner’s (fictional) character says, “We get to the peak together, or we don’t get there at all.” Katherine, Mary, and Dorothy depended on their friendship to keep them going through hard times. John Glenn relied on Katherine’s calculations to get him safely into space and back again. Virtually everyone at NASA relied on everyone else—and the entire U.S. relied on them to win the space race. Face it: whether we’re on this planet or in outer space, we’re all together in this thing called life. What do you say we try to get along?
When you’ve seen Hidden Figures, share what you learned from the film.