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First Man

  • 2018
  • PG-13
  • 133min
  • 88%
  • 7.5 / 10

The film follows the height of the NASA career of astronaut and pilot Neil Armstrong. It takes place entirely in the 1960s, spanning from Armstrong's work as a test pilot to his historic flight with the crew of Apollo 11, the first successful manned space flight to the Moon. The story explores Armstrong's personality and what drives him to do what he does. It looks at his family life, and his motivation resulting from the untimely death of his young daughter, as well as his loss of colleagues to crashes and failed launches. Armstrong's triumph as the first man to set foot on the moon is backed by his tragic but inspirational rise above these incidents.

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First Man was released to largely very positive critical and audience reception, with reviewers appreciating the focus of the film on Neil Armstrong as a person and his own hardships in life, rather than solely on his legendary status in American history and space travel. In this way, the film really puts the late astronaut and aeronautical engineer – a fallible and flawed man - in a humanized light, which captures the essence of the biographical work on which it is based and remains very faithful to Armstrong as an individual with a life story that is worth telling. As many film critics noted, First Man encourages its audience to see Armstrong beyond the man from history books and encyclopedias.

The film, however, caught the ire of patriots and prominent figures such as President Donald Trump, who discouraged people to watch First Man for not featuring a significant moment in American history: Armstrong planting the American flag in lunar soil. Still, director Chazelle stood his ground by saying that he intentionally chose to show unseen details of the country’s first journey to the Moon.

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about the movie

First Man is a 2018 American biopic or biographical film directed by Damien Chazelle, known for previous award-winning films Whiplash and La La Land. It was written by Josh Singer and stars Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. Music was provided by Justin Hurwitz, who had previously worked with Chazelle on those aforementioned films.

First Man itself is an adaptation of the official biographical book First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong, written by James R. Hansen, about the life, career, and achievements of astronaut Neil Armstrong. The movie was produced and distributed by Universal Pictures in conjunction with Dreamworks, Amblin, and Temple Hill Entertainment. It was released theatrically in October 2018 but premiered in August at the annual Venice Film Festival, to very positive reviews.