Hidden Figures is set to be an all-American feel-good movie, but with an important message. It’s an adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures: The Story Of The African-American Women Who Helped Win The Space Race.
It tells the story of mathematician Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) – some of the masterminds behind John Glenn’s first trip to space and back in 1962.
Glenn’s expedition was the first American orbit of the Earth, but one key part of the story has been undertold: the role of African-American women.
Katherine Johnson – who worked out the trajectories, launch windows and emergency back-up return paths for the early NASA missions of John Glenn, Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon – was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2015.
While Henson leads the portrayal of the group of black women who struggled against the white male perception of them, Kevin Costner plays the boss of the space programme, alongside the Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons. The film is directed by Ted Melfi and will land in UK cinemas on 24 February.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news