First Man: A Phenomenal Film


Universal Pictures Official Site

First Man came to theaters on October 12 and grossed $16 million on opening weekend.

Emily M. '22, Reporter

Grab your space suit (and some tissues) and prepare for blast off as First Man takes you to the moon. The riveting movie experience chronicles the journey of Neil Armstrong from flying as an experimental test pilot to becoming the first person to walk on another celestial body. Directed by Damien Chazelle, First Man offers a look into the challenges of being a father and husband while managing the roles of public figure and NASA trainee. The excellent casting, stellar special effects, and heartfelt storytelling made this film an unforgettable one.

­With an all-star cast, First Man captivated me from its very first moments. Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong, and Claire Foy plays his wife, Janet. Both portrayed their characters extremely well, but Gosling especially amazed me. Gosling has had roles in light-hearted movies, but in this particular project, he truly impressed me because of his evident focus and sincerity. Other notable actors, all of whom did not disappoint, include Jason Clarke as Ed White, Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin, and Kyle Chandler as Deke Slayton.

First Man showcased some rather terrifying events in Armstrong’s life that will have viewers on an emotional rollercoaster. Spoiler alert: his daughter Karen died early into the film, and this event overshadowed his thoughts during the most important moments of his career. Several of those scenes triggered some tears. I’m not a fan of sad movies, so I didn’t think all of those depressing scenes were necessary. NASA also faced other tragedies during this time, and I became pretty heartbroken over the unfortunate deaths that occurred.

Putting aside the emotional parts of the movie, it did entail a happy storyline. All the excitement surrounding the space program helped bring my focus away from Armstrong’s depression and into the world of rockets, moon landers, and lunar orbiters. The stunning special effects caused me to feel like I was a part of the movie’s events. Even though I’m the typical space nerd and knew what would happen next, every scene kept me on the edge of my seat.

The camera angle was one aspect of the movie I did not enjoy. Throughout the movie, the shots were taken extremely close to the actors’ faces, exposing every detail. Those cameras brought me closer to Ryan Gosling’s face than most people would ever want to be. The scenes also were not all shot with a stationary camera. Instead, the cameramen followed the actors as they moved about the set. They shook quite a bit, reminding me of how The Office was filmed.

I would highly recommend First Man to anyone who loves a classic American success story with suspense and adventure. This movie brought forth more than I had imagined after seeing the previews, and it surprised me at every scene. I definitely think that my movie ticket was worth the rather high cost for quality entertainment. First Man stands on the same level as other quintessential space movies, including The Right Stuff, Apollo 13 and Hidden Figures.