By Australian Council on Children and the Media
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Hidden Figures movie still image credit Twentieth Century Fox
© Twentieth Century Fox
 
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Rating
  • Parental guidance recommended
Recommendations
  • Not recommended for children under 10
  • Parental guidance for children under 12
  • Suitable for children over 12
Warnings
  • Includes themes that might confuse or bore children
  • Contains coarse language
  • Contains disturbing or upsetting scenes
Genre Biography, drama, history
Length 127 minutes
Release Date 05/02/2017

Story

Hidden Figures is a biographical drama based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly. Set in the 1950s and 1960s, it follows the true story of three African-American women who worked for NASA as ‘human computers’ at the Langley Research Centre. As a result of their mathematical and engineering skills, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) participate in the early days of the program to send American astronauts into space.

In the racist climate of the times, the three women are forced to work in the segregated West Area Computers Division. As women and African-Americans, they face continued discrimination. Despite producing high-quality work, they’re rejected for supervisory roles and they also receive dismissive and disparaging responses from colleagues.

When the Space Task Group needs someone to out-perform Russian mathematicians, Katherine is assigned to the job. During the space launch of John Glen, she makes crucial calculations that help to ensure the mission’s ultimate success. 

Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.

Racism and the American civil rights movement; discrimination against women in employment; the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union

Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.

Nothing of concern

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
Nothing of concern

From 5-8
Nothing of concern

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Hidden Figures has some mild sexual references. For example, an African-American woman expresses sexual attraction to Caucasian male astronauts, referring to them as ‘fine’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Hidden Figures shows some use of substances. For example, three women drink alcohol together at home and dance around together afterwards. They make jokes about becoming slightly ‘tipsy’.

Nudity and sexual activity

Hidden Figures shows some mild sexual activity, including several brief instances of romantic kissing between adult characters.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

Hidden Figures has some coarse and racist language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Hidden Figures is an inspiring movie based on the true story of three African-American women working for NASA. It illustrates the determination and perseverance needed to overcome racist and misogynistic attitudes.

The movie highlights the extensive struggles that Katherine, Dorothy and Mary face in a world where inequality is the norm. Through their continued achievements and refusal to give up, the three women prove that integrity and teamwork can triumph. The movie also shows how friendships and supportive relationships can help people to achieve their full potential.

The movie is likely to lack interest for children under 10 years, and its themes make it more suitable for older children. Therefore we don’t recommend it for children under 10 years, and we do recommend parental guidance for children aged 10-12 years.

There’s a lot in this movie that you could discuss with older children and teenagers. For example, you could talk about:

  • racism, segregation and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and race relations in both the United States and Australia today
  • gender roles and the assumption that women are less competent than men to do some jobs.
 
 
  • Last Reviewed 2017-02-24