Script: Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Cast: Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Mahershala Ali, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson
Setting: 1960s, Virginia
Rated : 9 Stars
Based on a true story. A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions.
Oh, I really enjoyed this film. So much more than I thought I would. I mean a story based on maths doesn’t sound all that entertaining. But I suppose that isn’t really what this is about, it is about the women who fought to show NASA just how vital they were to the space program.
It is amazing how racism was such a part of life. I know there are still huge problems today, but at least there aren’t still segregated schools and bathrooms and the like. The scene where Katherine finally loses her patience and explains, politely but so passionately just why it takes her 40 minutes to go to the bathroom was so powerful. I think that was a scene made up for the film, I believe in reality she just ignored the law, but I can understand why the filmmakers wanted to highlight just how unjust that was. The scene where the Kevin Costner character gets to play white saviour and desegregate the bathrooms, well, I can totally understand why that is getting flack. Why give the white character the credit for something he never did? Esspecially when this story doesn’t need that. It has three wonderful leads who all give fantastic performances, let the others do the supporting sure, but they don’t need moments to show not all white people were evil racists, that shouldn’t be the point of the film.
I’m not sure it is going to do huge business here in Ireland, the screening I was at had maybe six other people? but then again, it was early enough on a Monday evening, maybe the weekend showings had a better crowd. I’d hope so because I think it is an important film. First off, you have the women in STEM aspect to it, and also the black people in STEM aspect. And then there is the background of the civil rights movement, which we need to remember. No, it isn’t part of our direct history, but I think that too often Irish people are all “oh, we never had slavery or the like, we’re not racist” whereas huge parts of Irish culture are racist and misogynist and need to be taken to account. Also, if you use coded words to refer to Travellers and talk about them like they are all the same, then maybe you need to ask yourself why that isn’t a form of racism? Because it is.
But apart from the message of the film the reason you need to go see it is because it is a great piece of entertainment. I found it engaging, emotional, and funny. More than worth the price of admission.
Even if at times I found myself wondering who cares who was first into space. I mean, the whole point of the space race was just to bankrupt the soviets wasn’t it? Politically speaking, and for propaganda purposes surely. Or am I being overly cynical here?