This is the story of three amazing women who played a major role in Nasa’s space program. They helped the U.S win the race to the moon during the 1960’s and they did it with a great deal of adversity. This was a time when there were very few women working for NASA and yet somehow three black women were able to fight their way to becoming pivotal to the space mission.
If ever anyone wanted someone to look up to then look no further than Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Their intelligence and willpower helped them fight against the prejudices of women and black people. This film tells their story.
Katherine johnson is the focal point to the story. She was born with a major talent for Maths. From a young age she could solve complicated equations to the astonishment of her parents and teachers. Her talent got her a job at NASA working as a computer in a segregated sector of only black women. Segregation was a major part of their lives both in public and at work. There were black only bathrooms, workspaces and canteens. When Katherine was chosen to help with the space mission she was one of only a small number of women and the only black person. She still had to use the coloured toilets which were a great distance from where she worked. This lost her vital time and remember this was a space race so time was vital. Katherine even had a separate coffee pot to everyone else.
She fought for her rights and proved that her brain was superior to most of her co-workers. This gave her the right to be treated at least as an equal. This was the same as her two friends.Dorothy Vaughan was a supervisor and was in charge of the black sector of computers. This was in name only as she was not given the pay of a supervisor or given the role officially. She was alarmed that a new machine would replace her and her team. The machine known as an IBM was able to work out figures at rapid speed making humans redundant Dorothy was determined that this wouldnt happen and chose to work with IBM rather than fight it. She learnt how to use the machine better than anyone else and encouraged her fellow workers to do the same. Her intelligence and hard work helped her stay at NASA.
The third hidden figure was Mary Jackson. She wanted to become an engineer. She was well qualified to do the job and was encouraged by the engineering team.NASA kept raising the bar so Jackson had to take schooling to reach the criteria. The problem was that she wasn’t allowed to attend the school due to her colour. She had to go through the courts to get her place in school.
This is a brilliant film which I believe should have got more notice. Taraji Henson should have been nominated for an Oscar for her depiction of Katherine. She was able to portray the strength of character with great skill. She handled the comedy perfectly and the distress of being treated so badly. The three characters are completely different and Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae made up a pefect team. They were able to show their different battles to get where they wanted, have fun with the role and project a powerful message of equality to the audience. The supporting cast of Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons played their roles perfectly, often making life hard for the three genius ladies.
This film was a joy to watch and one of the most enjoyable films of the year. The three women deserve to be seen as important figures in the space program and for fighting for equality, not only as women, but black women as well.