WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
As you can imagine the first time I heard about this movie and saw the trailer, I was already hooked on the story of three African-American women who lead to the change in tides during the Space race. I wasn’t deceived by this movie’s subject matter nor did I feel harrowed where I perhaps could have.
This story, based on true events, for the most part takes place in the early 1960s, segregation between ‘white’ Americans and ‘coloured’ Americans was still very much at it’s peak and it’s very clearly to see the tension this caused (and still causes) on either side of the divide. Adding to the struggle of racial tension, added to the mix is gender discrimination and this is touched on a great deal. It’s hard to believe that as it stands I can see very little change in attitude towards women in the workplace both in the 1960s and present day, how accurately this was portrayed in the film remains to be seen however.
The film centres around three important women within NASA during this period in history, namely: Katherine G. Johnson, a well accomplished physicist and mathematician working on crucial calculations imperative to the success of many successful missions into space. Secondly, Dorothy Vaughan a mathematician and human computer who went on to become the first African-American woman supervisor at NASA, after teaching herself how to program the centre’s first computer, using the language: FORTRAN. The third, Mary Jackson, a mathematician who went on to become the first African-American female Aerospace engineer at NASA.
While you’d expect this film to be perhaps unrelenting, the tone throughout the film is serious but with humorous moments and tenderness scattered throughout making much easier to swallow this lesson of tolerance than it perhaps should be. At times, I found it glazed over the plight of the civil rights movement happening during the 1960s. But with quite the heartwarming emphasis on the determination and characters of these there women, it’s an uplifting dramatisation that instills faith that there’s decency in mankind’s endeavour, perhaps one of the most important films of the year could have set a disparaging and uncomfortable tone but rather set an example of freedom and ‘looking beyond’ the time in which the characters are living.