As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Gobels Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.Written by
20th Century Fox
Astronaut John Glenn did specifically request that Katherine Johnson review all of the calculations for the Friendship 7 mission - (his dialogue in the film based on actual NASA transcripts*) - before he could be confident enough to proceed, but which in reality actually occurred a few weeks before launch: not as depicted in the film whilst awaiting the actual launch. And Katherine Johnson's calculations (more realistically) actually took (just!) three days to confirm. (*Director's own DVD commentary information.) See more »
In the 50s and 60s, Virginia's license plates had no more than six digits. In the movie, the plate on the ladies' car has 7 digits, and in a recent font not used in the 50s and 60s. See more »
Heartening and disheartening all at the same time.
Disheartening because of the horrible racial prejudice shown - hard to believe that things were like they were. Heartening because of the undoubted success these three women made of their lives, and of course they are a representation of what countless others did.
My one criticism of the film is that I find it hard to believe that some of the situations presented actually happened. Did the Costner character really not see the kettle marked "coloured"? Was it really a trek to the bathroom?
But this can only be a minor criticism and surely represent the prevailing attitudes of the days in parts of the USA - and lets be honest still in existence in many other parts of the world today. In this sense the film is a salutary reminder of how insidious prejudice can be.
An entertaining, moving and sobering film.
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