Now I know that I don't have what it takes to work for NASA or come close to the intelligence or skills of these three women, but I do have things in common with them.
On the right you can see me circa 1986 studying FORTRAN in high school. Not to say that I didn't enjoy programming computers, but I didn't enjoy programming computers. It was about this time I started to realize that being a computer programmer was not in my future. I would get my projects done, but they were always at the last minute and consisted of days of aggravation of trying to get them to work.
Then there is Katherine Johnson who is the film's main character. A woman so smart that she was called a human computer. While at NASA she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights from Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program. Her calculations were critical to the success of these missions. Johnson also performed calculations for the plans for a mission to Mars.
Here is a picture of me circa early 1990's in my Calculus 2 class. I was working about fifty hours a week and had a part time job as well and realized that besides having no time to sleep, I didn't have time to do homework. I would go to class forgetting everything, spend two and a half hours relearning it again, and then not having time to study or do the homework and start the cycle all over again at the next class.
And then there is Mary Jackson. She was a mathematician and aerospace engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which in 1958 was succeeded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As seen in the movie, she was one of the first black women to attend advanced engineering classes.
And you can see me here when I was a student in engineering school back in the early nineties. You may be asking why I'm laying in the middle of the road? Why? When you take mechanical physics and you spend countless hours studying the text book, doing the same problems over and over again, spend all of my free time trying to learn this and then you get a 56 on the first exam. So you double down, study even more hours, do twice as many problems, push yourself harder than ever before and then take the second test and get a 55. This is why I am laying in the road, probably somewhere on the West Side Highway, hoping that I would be run over by a garbage truck. No such luck and I am very thankful that I was reading a great deal of Ayn Rand back then to help me get through those tough times.
So as you can see, I do have something in common with the three main characters in the film, I attempted to learn what they all did for a living and realized I wasn't smart enough. I'm guessing this is for the best.
As for the film, it is well acted and the story flows. Granted it is Hollywood, so they do take some liberties like the bathroom sign scene with Kevin Costner never happened. But it is inspiring to see that even with hardships, these three women kept fighting and working as hard as they could to help NASA get our astronauts into space and back to earth safely. I found it inspiring to see Dorthy Vaughan take the time to learn how to program the new computer and become the specialist on it knowing that it would be taking away her job, instead of fighting progress and sitting back and becoming obsolete. Her actions not only saved her job, but those of her co-workers since they became the first computer programmers.
Only one major gripe I have with the film, and that was with Kevin Costner's character on how he wore a tie clip. You are right by agreeing that this is a major, major problem and needs to be pointed out and discussed in full length. But I will only cover the basics.
Things like this need to be pointed out. This annoyed me to no end during the film since it is so easy to wear a tie clip properly. As a strong supporter of tie clips, you should be wearing them more often but when you do, wear them properly.
That just leaves where does this film rank for Best Pictures. Compared to La La Land, it, um, excuse me but I need to laugh hysterically...
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Okay, that felt better. This is about as far above La La Land as the rockets they were firing into space. Well, I found it funny. Fine, it is the best of the two films I have seen so far. Check out the trailer and see it yourself, you will enjoy the film.