Mercury 13 (2018) Poster


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Well Made, But Might Not Be For Everyone
neener370720 April 2018
****PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGMENT**** I've said it many times before, if Netflix does anything right, its the incredibly well made original documentaries and docu-series. As a history buff I enjoyed it, as a man raised by a feminist mother I found it harsh and hateful towards men. With incredible historical footage, well structured stories of the bad ass women's early lives and their work as pilots, questions about sexism of the time and how these women faced it. I definitely enjoyed this documentary, but I watched it with a person that had a problem with it. My mother was a bra-burning feminist of the 60's and 70's, and she told me she found the whole description of NASA as "a good old boys club" to be insulting, because she worked with the NASA branch in our city. She told me she found it offensive because the men didn't do this out of hate, that's just how history was, and there no reason to be angry about it, because as the documentary shows these amazing women and how they changed how women were seen in the workforce.

So putting aside the harsh and semi-hateful attitude towards men, as I said, the film, like other Netflix documentaries, is incredibly well paced and put together, you are taken along on a ride through the history of women pilots both civilian and military, from WW2 WASP's to the women in this documentary. The film calls into question the natural sexist state of the 1940's and 50's and how it was changed through the changing perception of what women were capable of. Not only the story was an interesting one, but all the archival footage was truly incredible to watch. From the female WASP's of World War 2, to the women plane racers of the early 50's, to the Space Race of the Cold War. All of the footage was very well preserved and a true treat for this history fan. All in all it was another great Netflix documentary, though some will find the insults about men in NASA to be insulting, like my feminist mother did. But I liked it, a lot!
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What a wonderful documentary this is
gcsman4 May 2018
Everyone should see this, and since it's on Netflix, it's easy. This episode in the history of the USA space program was a reflection of the 1960's society of the time, but obvious echos still ring today. A doctor attached to the Mercury space capsule program, Dr. Lovelace, started a program on his own initiative to recruit women pilots for possible astronaut training. The ones who passed all the (sometimes bizarre) physical tests, the "Mercury 13", had high hopes of going further but NASA, Congress, and VP Lyndon Johnson summarily dismissed it for reasons that were nothing more than blatant sexism. All the women were accomplished pilots and first-rate human beings by any standard, but the arbitrary "rules" of qualification for astronaut training were such that no woman could meet them -- despite the fact that no piloting was even needed for Mercury capsules; the astronauts were just "spam in a can" as the saying went.

These ladies drew career inspiration from a still earlier generation of women pilots who flew in WWII (the WASPS), including Jacqueline Cochrane who features prominently in the doc. Cochrane herself wanted to be an astronaut, but didn't pass the physicals that the younger women did, and later on betrayed them during crucial Senate hearings about the astronaut program. John Glenn, the fair-haired hero of these early stages of the space program, also comes in for some criticism; he's someone who could have given meaningful support to the women at a critical stage, but did not.

Just like these womens' hopes, the Mercury 13 history has been largely buried, so this doc is very timely. A number of them are still around to be interviewed and tell their story first-hand, and boy are they great to hear. (Dr. Lovelace's daughter is an interviewee as well, and she's excellent.) It's easy to get outraged on their behalf, but that might be too simplistic. Listen to them first. They in turn have clearly been role models and inspirations for the women who have now become a regular part of space exploration.

The chronology of this film is frequently spliced in with absolutely gorgeous flight scenery accompanied by a graceful, soaring musical score. Oh, the magic of flight. Those scenes alone make it worth seeing this fine production.
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Women In Space
bandyabout724 April 2018
This was a brilliant documentary of the Mercury 13. Women who fought to become a part of the NASA astronaut training program but were ultimately denied due to unrealistic standards.

I am a giant space nerd. I have visited every space vehicle museum in the US. And only now did I learn about the Mercury 13. These women. These amazing women who wanted nothing more than a chance. A chance to see space and be a part of the journey.

This documentary is amazing. And if I was a teacher or in charge of education standards I would make every student watch this along with the Mercury 7 story.

What is so wrong with telling the whole story.
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Great documentary
Calicodreamin30 June 2019
Loved hearing from the mercury 13 women themselves on their journey. Documentary focuses on the space race and how a group of 13 women passed the first round of tests to enter the space program but were ultimately rejected by nasa. The first hand accounts and viewpoints were really interesting, and gives you a good perspective of the times. These women were rejected solely based on the fact that they were women, not because they didn't pass the tests... which is aggravating.

But follows through to the first woman to pilot a NASA space shuttle and how she honored the 13, which was really special.
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Soviets sent women to space no problem
Prolecenter22 April 2018
Interesting documentary. Liberals will be angered at the way these women were treated and inspired by their courage. Far right wing conservatives will be angry because they are knuckle-dragging reactionary maniacs. My takeaway is quite different from both American camps. I can't understand why these women continued to be patriotic to a society that treated them so badly and why they were somewhat disappointed when the first woman in space was Soviet and not American. I also question the sincerity and inclusiveness of the American bourgeois feminist movement. Documentaries like this point out the injustices of the American capitalist system, but they do not question the fundamental injustice of capitalism itself and of America's backward and reactionary nature. The Americans only did anything remotely progressive because the Soviets embarrassed them and they were forced to by their example as well as by burgeoning social movements and organized labor in the US.
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harsh towards men?
therstrand24 July 2018
Reverse discrimination? Say it isn't so.... Can't get a job and displaced from the one I had, due to toxic feminist hired into management (thanks Fed. gov.!) Interesting I get this treatment... and social response? Silence. Bad time before, fast forward to us all be equal, right? No. it's the surpass and now discriminate the party you just passed. People that even believed in equality and rallied for you. Now burn those. No recourse. Let me see... Hillary is in it? Yeah, your're done white older male. Hope you have some savings. Shame on you all. Yeah, about right.
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Why couldn't women go into space? The reasons were preposterous
bettycjung10 May 2018
5/4/18. Interesting to watch, from a historical perspective. it is sad and a tragedy that these women didn't get a chance to go into space because of the sexual discrimination at the time. Reasons for denying them the chance now seem totally preposterous. However, the interviews of these women probably could have been done better.
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Great source material, not a great documentary.
Offworld_Colony18 February 2020
Listless and artless and toneless. Nice artwork though.
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