Starring: Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirstin Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge.
Director: Theodore Melfi
I love movies, but rarely do they truly move me. I’m not easily impressed, in that sense, even though I enjoy a wide variety of them. But this film really got to me. I laughed. I teared up. That never happens.
I think it’s because this film is so genuine. It’s the true story of three brilliant minds who work for NASA and are instrumental in the space race in 60’s America, but who you’ve probably never heard of, because they were black women. Katherine G Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.
The film is fascinating. It’s shot in beautiful sunshine colours, with music that uplifts and has soul, and the dedication to creating the 60’s in colour and tone, costume and set, is remarkable. It draws you in to the world it creates, and then keeps you there by introducing three women building their lives and pushing to have careers under a regime that was not only hostile to women, but was more than hostile to black people. It’s a story that could easily become cheesey or sentimental, but it never does.
I loved the relationship between the three, the way they often teased and supported each other. And how incredibly intelligent and loving they were, as mothers and wives and girlfriends, and member of a community, as friends. You can’t help but care about these women, as they are forced to walk 40 mins to the nearest colored bathroom, passed over for promotion, and kept out of meetings and classes that are essential to their work. But they carry on, none the less.
One scene really bothered me, in which one of the ladies is forcibly removed from the library because she needed a book from the white section, and the black section didn’t have it. Everyone should have access to books and learning. It just made me sick!
There is a lot in this film that could be mawkish, but it never is. It’s a beautifully shot film, with heart and power. It has sweet moments, triumphant ones, and sad ones, against the back drop of the sounds and colours of the 60’s world, and the fascinating race to beat those Russians into space. It’s a film that should speak to all of us, because we’ve all been ignored and pigeon holed or discriminated against at some point, and these women are wonderful role models for any person.
See It If: I think you should all see it, and I think with the buzz that it’s generating, you probably all will. It’s on the the UK in Feb, and already out in cinemas in the US.