Jess V. KnippingComment

First Man (2018), Dir. Damien Chazelle

Jess V. KnippingComment
First Man (2018), Dir. Damien Chazelle
...You’re gonna sit the boys down, and prepare them for the fact that you might never come home!
— Janet Armstrong, First Man (2018)

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Kyle Chandler, Christopher Abbott, Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas, Shea Whigham, Olivia Hamilton.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Screenplay: Josh Singer

Hey Chazelle, I’ve seen The Right Stuff too. Hey Chazelle, I’ve see Apollo 13 too. Hey Chazelle, I love great NASA space explorations movies too. Hey Chazelle, Zellie, these films were unique and special and it would have been great to have gotten your own unique and special perspective—like for instants a very recent NASA movie, Hidden Figures. You know really push for a fresh approach.

This film is not bad, it is far from bad. It is gorgeous, period perfect and some of the best acting that I have seen from Gosling & Foy (playing Neil & Janet Armstrong respectively). They bring a real grounding to these historical figures, the real realities of everyday life in contrast to what mankind achieved. These people were really a cog in the NASA machine.

However no matter their presence on our screen, they were given very little to do. Foy is the straight man to keep our perspective on the importance of home life. Janet is the rock of the family who must raise her kids while their dad is away risking his life for a great purpose. Gosling’s Armstrong is an introspective character who spends most of the time in his head while his physical presence is getting the job done. These are great qualities in characters however it is something that we have seen before. The central issue is that there is no personal growth as this biopic decides to keep them in one mood over the course of a decade.

This film is so beautiful, but there are no stakes. It is tricky with a biopic that presents one of the most insanely driven feats in our modern history. It is nuts that we in that era were able to achieve so much advancement in the exploration of space and freaking land on the Moon. But we know that we land on the Moon, we know that Armstrong has that glorious line that will forever ring beautifully in how noggins for all time. Chazelle needed to find something that could have propelled this into greater stakes or found a new way to tell this kind of story.

★ ★ ★ 1/2