New today Factual error: They show a clip of JFK's Rice University speech on Sept. 12, 1962. Shortly afterwards, Paul Stafford makes a statement that JFK has ensured their job security by proposing to go to the moon. They should have shown the clip from his speech to Congress on May 12, 1961 when he actually first made the proposal to go to the moon. By the time of the Rice speech, two orbital flights had already taken place. In the movie, the first orbital flight (Glenn) doesn't happen until after the Rice speech.
Continuity mistake: When Katherine realises she can use Euler's Method to calculate how to bring John Glenn safely back to earth, she is seen wearing a wristwatch when she's at the chalkboard. The watch is not on her when she leaves to get a book about Euler's Method. It reappears when she's back at the chalkboard.
Add timeMatt Peters
Factual error: During this era (I was there), nearly everyone (myself excluded) smoked like chimneys, and engineers in the office scene were no exception. All depictions of them laboring over their slide rules should have, realistically, been seen through a thick haze of cigarette smoke.
Continuity mistake: When John Glenn is attempting re entry, Dorothy Vaughn is driving out to the beach/country and she stops the car near a barn where there is a dark and creamy two tone car parked. The scene cuts straight back to the city to see the other girls watching re entry and the exact same two tone car is parked on the side of the road.
Continuity mistake: In a scene where Katherine is writing on the big chalkboard, calculating the reentry spot (or something similar) for Friendship 7, her left hand is shown with an engagement ring. Her boyfriend doesn't propose until after this scene. You only see it for a second.
Add timeKA Boehm
Factual error: When Colonel Jackson comes to town to organize a National Guard unit, he is wearing the Army Green military uniform. It only has the branch insignia (infantry) and the US lapel. It has no name tag, no shoulder insignia showing what unit he was assigned to, no shoulder unit crests and no award ribbons. A person with that rank must have been in the Armed Forces at least 16-18 years and no ribbons?
Continuity mistake: In the last scene in which Vivian gives Dorothy an assignment, her lanyard is at first hanging neatly from her neck. The camera goes back and forth between her and Dorothy, and when you last see Vivian, the ball chain for the lanyard is no longer hanging neatly; it is pulled to the side because it's caught on her jacket lapel.
Add timeMatt Peters
Factual error: In at least two places in the film an IBM Selectric is used. They are: (a) A room at the beginning of the movie where typewriters are shown; (b) Near the end when Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is typing up her report. The Selectric was introduced on July 31, 1961 (the year most of the movie takes place). It is impossible for it to have been used during the first scene as that takes place prior to Shephard's flight, which was on May 5, 1961. Glenn's flight in Friendship 7 took place on February 2, 1962. So the Selectric may have been used by Johnson at that time, but it is extremely unlikely. IBM had expected to sell 20,000 in the first 6 months and had orders (not deliveries) for 80,000 of them by the end of 1961. They were rare. NASA would not have gotten one, as law offices and similar business were IBM's bread and butter.
Add timeDennis LeRoy Dunn
Continuity mistake: When Katherine is putting her 3 children to bed the child to the left has the blanket down to her chest when Katherine is shot from behind. When she is shot from the front the blanket has moved to cover the girl's shoulder. This repeats at least three times in the scene.