Even though the title should’ve probably given it away, I wasn’t totally sure what this film was about. It was one of those films that I went to see because it was on at a decent time, I liked the actors and there had been a lot of publicity posters around; although I’m not sure I had ever seen a trailer. Anyway! As the title suggests, First Man tells the story of Neil Armstrong: the first man to walk on the moon.
I really enjoyed that the film didn’t just focus on the Apollo mission which got Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stroll) to the moon, but it gave us a more human view of the iconic figures which were involved in the development of the space programme at the time; including how their home and family lives suffered when they were embarking on such dangerous missions.
Claire Foy; who I love, played Janet Armstrong (Neil’s wife) who is a strong woman raising two young sons. However, she is also grieving the loss of her daughter with a husband who barely talks about her and dealing with the fact that her husband regularly walks into dangerous situations. Neil on the other hand is portrayed as potentially avoiding the reality of the loss of his daughter and growing number of friends by focusing on his missions and avoiding close relationships. Although he does make a small group of friends during the Gemini and Apollo missions, in particular Ed White (Jason Clarke) who’s family live across the street.
I have been lucky enough to visit the Houston NASA site which made the film extra exciting; you can actually go to the historic mission control which was used for the real missions. When I was there they talked about the tragic loss of lives during an Apollo mission in preparation for the moon landing. I had never heard of this mission so I was really happy when they included it in the movie to provide more context to how dangerous these missions were and how even the simplest thing could cause fatalities.
I have trouble classifying this film… is it like a sci-non-fi?? Haha. I also find myself believing the portrayal of the film even though I know a lot of it is dramatised, so I think I should probably do some research to identify what was real and what wasn’t. I did really enjoy it though, it even had a sort of classic filter on the movie to make it seem a little older and not as crisp as modern movies. If you’re like me and curious about recent history and enjoy a little bit of drama and excitement, you should definitely go and see it!