First of all, if you haven’t seen this movie, what are you waiting for??? lol. I mean, It’s only the hottest movie in theaters right now (in the U.S., at least). When you make a movie about [black] history, mixed with some #girlpower, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and then space travel as the cherry on top … my, oh my!
I’m not promising there won’t be spoilers in this post, but please allow me to relive my experience watching this movie and share a few of my thoughts on it. That is, other thoughts apart from “fantastic, very fantastic, and best movie ever!”. So before you read further, you just may want to go see the movie first :).
You’ve been warned.
Okay, let me just say that if it were me, from the first day I had to run to the colored ladies bathroom, half a mile away, carrying my work with me so I could work while using the bathroom i.e. not waste a single minute, I would have said something. I’m just saying. Every single time I watched her run to that bathroom, I got angrier and angrier.
When she had to do the hand calculation to make sure the computer calculated correctly, and then personally run the results over to the control room, and they simply took the results and shut the door in her face … and then she turned around and started to walk away??? It was all I could do not to scream in that theater!!
Maybe I am spitting ‘big game’ because we are now in 2017… Maybe, if it were me, at that time, I would have done the same thing. Maybe. One can’t really say for sure … but man, I tell you. I had to exercise a lot of self control in that movie theater in Southwest Michigan.
Let’s just say thank God for good bosses, who do the right thing, albeit occasionally.
And God bless Mrs Vaughan! She was such a blessing to so many women- she thought ahead and saw a potential opportunity and instead of keeping her little secret to herself so she could take advantage of the opportunity, she brought her colleagues along with her. She shared the scoop. Sisterhood. Moral of the story- when you see something good, don’t keep it to yourself, share it. Let others benefit. There is so much blessing in that :).
Perhaps the character I loved the most was the most outspoken one, the one who was determined to become an engineer. Maybe because I am an engineer ;). She was so determined, with her heels and everything. With segregation and racism and sexism. With a husband, two kids, and a full time job- you go girl! Shout out to all the women out there hustling at work and balancing life at home and getting that degree. Y’all are the real MVPs. Never has graduation been so victorious!
The movie reinforced in me the importance of knowing your worth. If you are good at what you do, be confident, be proud of it. Don’t let any man belittle you and your accomplishments– in the name of ‘love’. If they feel ‘threatened’ and start to act some type of way, then they can keep it moving. However, if you are so inclined, you may give them a second chance, it is possible they could learn or come to repentance ;).
Also, you know you’ve made it when you are getting called on to check the math calculations of a computer! Can you just imagine that though, your hand calculated math is what a trip to outer space (or return from outer space) depends on. The pressure! I still remember the feelings of horror when I realized I had missed a sign on a Calculus problem in college … compare that to space travel and rocket launches. This is why I am nit picky about things like psi — you have to tell me, is it psig or psia????
I think it was great that Amy’s colleagues supported her ambitions of becoming an engineer but I would have liked to see more support. For example, going with her to court, even just to sit in the audience. Maybe in real life they did. Maybe it was edited out of the movie. But still …
I would have also liked to see Katherine’s colleague/boss (not Mr Harrison) apologize to her for his bad behavior at some point … maybe it happened in real life. Or maybe it was edited out of the movie…
Dressing! I found it quite amusing how ALL the [male] engineers dressed alike and very boring and wore ties and white shirts. Also, the women all wore heels and were dressed to the nines. It made me think about one day at work where I was literally thanking God that I didn’t have to dress up so much. Someone had walked past me in a skirt and heels and I think I was in jeans and a sweater. So not like a bum, but definitely not board room. But it was acceptable, I’m an engineer. It’s the little things :).
Some quotes (well paraphrases) from the movie that ‘gave me life’ or made me grit my teeth:
White lady: “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against you.”
Mrs. Vaughan: “I know you probably believe that”
“Good work gentlemen!” — He said, addressing a room full of engineers and scientists, one of whom was a woman. Sadly, this mistake probably happens a lot more than we think, even to this day.
A related one — “Go call your wives and tell them you will be working late”. Again, not all of them were men.
“But the curriculum is not designed for women” — Instructor telling the lady on the first day of class. Trust me, she had the perfect comeback for that!
“You’re the boss sir, you just need to act like it” Amen!! Some people need to realize the power and influence that they have; and use it.
“Amy Jackson, engineer, pleasure to work with you” — said with a killer smile and loads of confidence. She wasn’t an engineer (yet. white lie) but when the others were smiling and shaking hands, just content that the white astronaut took it upon himself to visit the colored section, she looked him straight in the eye and told him she would be working alongside him. Not under him, not for him- with him.
And he said “my pleasure!”.
“So who wants to go first?”. Press conference with astronauts when they asked the question who wanted to go to space first and they all raised their hands, my dear friend John Glen upped the ante and raised both hands! My man … (in Denzel’s voice– inside joke).
“Are you a Russian spy?”, he asked the black lady.
Look of confusion.
“No sir, … I am not Russian”, she replied.
“Do you believe her?”, he addressed the room.
“She’s not Russian sir”.
Some other randoms:
- John Glen just might be the most handsome astronaut ever 🙂
- Star studded cast- Taraji P Henson: got nominated for an Academy Award in the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Octavia Spencer: won Academy Award for role in The Help, Janelle Monae: musician, Remy Danton from House of Cards, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Costner, and a few others.
x x x x x x x
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I could relate on so many levels and it was beautifully done. Great acting, great story.
It rekindled my interest and fascination with space travel and it got me mentally planning a visit to either NASA in Houston or Cape Canaveral in Florida, or both!
I also couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of gratitude for all those who went before me. Those brave women, those black women who endured all this so that I, as a 17 year old black girl, could confidently walk into a college classroom full of white boys and feel like I had every right to be there, just as they did. So that I, as a young, black, female engineer can walk into a board room full of male colleagues and deliver a technical presentation and it’s the most normal thing. Thank you, brave women, thank you!
If you’re interested in more space travel or astronaut or outer space movies, I recommend The Martian, Interstellar, and Gravity.
If/when you watch the movie, comment below on your thoughts about the movie– I’d love to chat with others who have seen it 🙂