What a cast!
That was my first impression after watching the number one movie on MLK weekend. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae star as the trio of black women who were instrumental to the success of NASA and the space program in the 60s. Aldis Hodge and Mahershala Ali have supporting roles as the men who doubt but ultimately support their women; Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons play masters of microaggression as the middle management bosses who are clearly threatened by the new blood rising; Kevin Costner gets to play another ‘man of his time’ who ultimately chooses to stand on the right side of history.
The title is a fantastic pun; even a lot of us who take pride in knowing black history couldn’t immediately quote back to you the story of these three real women: Katherine Johnson (Taraji) was instrumental in working out the math that helped America win the space race; Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia) was the first African-American supervisor at NASA; Mary Jackson (Monae) was one of the earliest black aerospace engineers and used her own foothold to help other women and minorities get their foot in the door.
These ‘based on a true story’ movies can veer in a lot of directions, but it’s easy to see why this one has been a critical and commercial favorite. Definite recommend.