The film tells the story of three black women who were instrumental in getting America's space race off the ground, using their mathematics and computer genius during a time of prejudice and segregation.

Octavia Spencer in Hidden FiguresOctavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Actress Octavia Spencer thinks that the film is catching audiences by surprise. "I think there will be some people who think that this is some sort of conjecture," she says. "I thought it was fiction. But it's an embarrassment that these women were omitted from the annals of history. I've seen just about every movie about the space race, and not only have they not mentioned women, they definitely haven't mentioned African-American women. I'm excited because the world will finally know these names. They will no longer be obscure."

Spencer, who won an Oscar for her role in The Help, believes that there's no precedent for this movie. "Even with The Help, it was three African-American maids with the protagonist being a white girl," she says. "There's an underserved audience for stories of women like this working and succeeding. There is a kind of fatigue on slave stories, on subjugated stories, which for some reason there is still a plethora of in Hollywood. I think this movie will be impactful in a lot of ways because African-American women have contributed so much and have been regarded so little. But there's still a lot of road to cover, a lot of stories to tell."

Politically active, Spencer believes that the film has a lot to say to today's audiences. "There's a line in the movie: 'Every time we move forward they keep moving the finish line.' And I'm going to be honest with you, I felt the same way about the American election. I knew that I had all of the press coming up for this movie that I love. And then after the election it just put me in a very different headspace. I honestly didn't know how I was going to do it - I don't like to put any face forward that isn't me. Then I realised that instead of being the triumphant rallying cry I thought it was going to be, the film was going to ground me in this spirit of enlightening people, inspiring people and galvanising people. I think what we can learn from these women that no matter what's going on, you have power. The individual has power. And together we are many, and strong."

Watch the trailer for Hidden Figures: