There is something about space movies that appeals to pretty much everybody. The space race of the sixties is one of the most famous rivalries in history and the culmination of these events was one of the greatest moments in human history. Not to spoil the ending of the film, but Armstrong’s first steps on the moon will forever be synonymous with exploration and achievement. Damien Chazelle is one of the best young directors working today and he succeeds in creating something very different from his previous works. Where La La Land and Whiplash were focused on sound and rhythm, First Man is focused on the absence of sound. The silence of space is a truly devastating thought, but Chazelle successfully uses it to convey a message about the distance Armstrong traveled to get to his final destination.
Ryan Gosling may not seem like the obvious choice for Neil Armstrong, but he carries Armstrong’s stoicism with a passion that never seems forced. Though Gosling does a great job playing Armstrong’s subtle emotionality, it is Claire Foy who truly shines in he role as Janet Armstrong. Foy plays as the antithesis of Gosling, where he is stoic and dedicated to his mission, she is overcome with emotion and concern. The way she plays herself as being the caring wife and mother, while also hardened and guarded from loss is a truly impressive and the shining performance of this film. Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, and Kyle Chandler also deserve shoutouts for their rolls as Ed White, Buzz Aldrin, and Deke Slayton.
The silence of space is truly daunting, but Chazelle never lets it get the best of him, which makes for an out of this world experience.
Definitely one that should be seen in the theater, just to capture the vastness of space, which it does perfectly, earning it…
4.5 out of 5