Now here is a movie my family will watch over and over. At a little more than two hours, it’s long, but it never feels that way. Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) are three African American women who work for NASA. All three women are real and so is their story. They are brilliant women who break barriers to become supervisors, computer programmers, and engineers.
My children were horrified that there were toilets for the “colored” and “whites,” which made me realize how little the younger ones knew about the history of our country and, especially, the south. As the Russians try to make it to the moon before anyone, this movie tells the story not only of the men – and women – that got us there, but it does so in a way that teaches history, shows the absolute ignorance of the day, and has you cheering as the women are finally recognized for their value as human beings.
This movie seemed different than many others that try to tell the story of racism in the south. It leaves out the violence but recognizes that it exists. It leaves out language we find abhorrent today but uses conversations between the races that realizes how difficult those days must have been and, for many, continue to be.
Buy this movie, don’t rent it. And watch it with children as young as 8 or 9 – especially young women. Help our daughters understand that any dream is possible if you are willing to work hard, ignore the naysayers, and fight against injustice – even if that injustice is in your own community. Let your children see how being colorblind is sometimes all it takes to get a rocket from here to the moon.