I don’t have time to write a full review this week, but I had a chance to go to the theater and watch “First Man” last night and I REALLY loved it. It’s the story of famous Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong — the first man on the moon. I’ve been interested in space exploration ever since I was a little kid, and I have fond memories of doing a report when I was in school on the Apollo 11 moon landing. So as soon as I saw the trailer for “First Man,” I knew I had to watch this movie.
Although “First Man” is technically a biopic, it feels different than a lot of other biographical films I’ve seen, which I actually found refreshing. Some biopics feel like they’re just checking off items on a list — i.e. this thing happened, and then this happened, and so on. In “First Man,” director Damien Chazelle is more interested in capturing feelings and creating a certain mood. He uses the “shaky cam” technique a lot, which I’m not always a fan of; however, it works really well here, particularly during the rocket launch scenes. You really feel like you’re blasting off right alongside the astronauts.
Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong. Gosling is always great, I feel, so I wasn’t surprised that he turned in another solid performance here. It’s a very restrained performance, actually, and it’s an interesting contrast to the hotshot flyboy stereotype that you think of when you think of the early astronauts. But that restraint just makes the moments Gosling does show emotion all the more powerful.
Speaking of emotion, I wasn’t expecting to get teary-eyed in this movie as often as I did, but there were a number of moments that really got me. There’s some stunningly gorgeous cinematography in this film. My favorite part was watching Armstrong and the other astronauts walking to the Apollo 11 rocket and then blasting off into space; all the scenes on the moon were also beautiful. I kinda wish I’d splurged to see this in IMAX.
This movie was definitely worth catching on the big screen. I could write a lot more about it, but I definitely recommend it! I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up on my “best of the year” list when I rank my favorite 2018 films.