Rating: PG, Time: 2hr 7min, Director: Theodore Melfi, Cast on IMDb
What do you think is the most interesting aspect of the film?
It is very valuable in documenting how women took on Jim Crow laws in the deep South of Florida despite being inside of NASA, which was the highest profile behind-the-scenes job you likely could land in the 1960s. Each of the characters Dorothy fighting for the justice and job survival of her employees by learning to code covertly, Katherine exposing the segregation of the races at work and Mary fighting her way into school previously attended my white males only break race laws and rules. These were small battles that made the difference for all other black women working at NASA that followed. On top of that they contributed vastly to the evolution of NASA in the space race of JFK's administration.
Another wrinkle to the film is how it exposes the Jim Crow within Hollywood itself. How many films are made of African American experience outside of Spike Lee? The system itself fears taking on a risk of a small culture and its possible lower sales figures and usually strays seldomly from stripped down simplified pure story that sells to the broadest scope of audience. The sad part is that Hollywood could really produce great films if they gave more stories like this a chance vs. another chapter of Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc. crap they normally produce.
What did you think of the sets?
I think for a historical film you really need to be exact and capture the era completely for the film to work. The costumes, signage and Jim Crow references ring true through and through. The interesting part is how these women so strive to fit in and even straighten their hair (likely required to work) to make it in their passion and fulfill their destiny as very smart women.
What was the most surprising element?
Outside of Jim Crow inside NASA, the element of humans as fast calculating machines to do advance math off the top of their head is truly amazing. You wonder how we even were able to do all these calculations with such primitive devices and mechanical calculators. It really shows how fast the human mind can be trained to calculate, which being a math guy myself is admirable. I've only seen some CFOs have this similar fast on the fly calculation just by scanning numbers and doing massive math in their heads. Nowadays most of these true math geniuses land in Investment Banking for quantitative math on fast trading building algorithms to beat the market. How far mathematicians have fallen from the glory days in NASA calculating how to land on the Moon.
Have you done any art on this movie?
Not yet, but definitely this story involves heros fighting their own cultural limitations to land man on the moon literally is one of the best ideas for portraits. I recently did another 60s hero Malcolm X, who led hustlers into Islam and leaders in their community.
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