with Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner.
A trio of brilliant black women work on the space program at Langley in Virginia in 1961. Obstacles abound: sexism, racism, a few hundred white men stupider than you standing in your way.
The story begins in 1961 when the cold war demanded that NASA defeat the Russians in the space race. Mathematicians sit in bullpens cranking out the figures that will result in successful launch and landing ond ultimately an orbit around the earth.
Jim Parsons reprieves his role as a geek, Jim Stafford, one of the mathematicians working under an autocratic supervisor, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner). But the movie is a tribute to the three women who prevailed over an unjust system that would deny them entry in the halls of power there they belonged– solving the math problems and science of engineering space flight.
Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is the star, working in Harrison’s office for manned space flight, trying out her formulas for the trajectory of the space capsule on the huge blackboard.
Octavia Spencer who plays Dorothy Vaughan works her magic. Vaughan knows that human computers will be replaced by machines, and learns FORTRAN on her own so that she can program them. “Atta girl” she hums as she gets the behemoth machine to run for the first time. White men had been floundering for days to do what she did in a minute.
Maybe we are all hungry for uplift but I found the happy ending just what I needed on the day after President Trump fired his Attorney General for trying to enforce the constitution. It is more than heartening to see women overcome sexism and racism not through through the assistance of other more privileged white men, though John Glen gave them a boost. It was through their great intelligence.