Pssst, want to check out First Man in our new look?
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I like space race movies a lot, so I wasn't sure First Man would be able to surprise me. And for the most part, that is to say when it comes to story beats related to the Mercury and Apollo missions, it didn't. But where most movies (and TV, as I count the superlative From the Earth to the Moon) are rather procedural, Damien Chazelle's take is much more intimate (perhaps to the point where I missed some of the proceduralism). The camera is out of cinéma vérité (shaky and unfortunately blurry at times), favoring tight close-ups over model shots, taking us into the cramped spacecraft with the astronauts. The story likewise sticks close to Neil Armstrong and his family life, and even chooses that aspect over NASA's professional achievements. But it's cleverly done. Instead of showing us a scene where Armstrong - this man of few words nonetheless responsible for speaking some of the most famous words in history - argues with other astronauts as to what should be said to the world upon landing on the Moon, we have one where he doesn't know what to say to his kids before he leaves. And even once we're on that stark, alien landscape, the achievement is turned into the most deeply personal of moments. Armstrong in the film has an emptiness that's akin to the Moon's, but not one that needs be filled, only confronted and tamed. We chose to go to the Moon and do the other things, but those "other things" may differ from person to person. The film's answer is rather more beautiful than I expected.
I don't know.... technically the movie works really well, but the majority of characters are fairly bland (with Aldrin being the standout exception). The fact that Chazelle devotes some much needed attention to the otherwise overlooked wives and children of these space pioneers is commendable, but still the movie wasn't as riveting as I'd hoped for.
No American flags/10
I would've forgotten which country had achieved this milestone in space exploration if whatever that guy was called hadn't said "One small step for an American, one giant leap for The United States of America and no other country, fuck you guys"
Really feel bad for Michael Collins though. Not only was he an Irish national hero, he was also in SPACE and they only ever referred to him as Mike, never his full name.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!