In the last fifty years, if there were to be one real-world hero who all the science-loving kids looked up to, it would be undoubtedly Neil Armstrong. His first words after landing on the moon have become a legend. So I was curious to watch First Man (2018), a film by Damien Chazelle.
There has been numerous documentaries and works of fiction that were made around the Apollo moon missions undertaken by the USA under President Kennedy. One of the memorable ones has been Tom Hank‘s Apollo 13, which was about the triumph of human ingenuity faced against odds and the engineering prowess of NASA. Apollo 11, the mission was the ultimate achievement of mankind – the landing on the moon, but unlike the film Apollo 13, First Man (2018) focuses not on the engineering challenges but on the emotional challenges that had to be overcome by Neil Armstrong and his wife Janet Shearon during the events leading to Apollo 11 that took a huge toll on their personal lives. Though there were numerous extremely talented engineers and pilots in NASA during the Apollo missions, what got Neil Armstrong this rare opportunity was his inherent grit and deep technical understanding.
Ryan Gosling has done a wonderful job of being Neil Armstrong, but there were scenes where he is outshined by Claire Foy and her character as Janet Shearon (Wife of Neil Armstrong).
I liked the film and its intense narrative style. But it is may not be for everyone. My wife didn’t like it and my friends’ 10-year old son fell asleep through the movie which we were watching on an IMAX screen.