First Man (2018) Poster

(2018)

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8/10
A lot more than just a standard biopic
dirty_chords6 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is my interepretation of a film I wasn't ready to love. Boy, was I wrong.

Based on the book "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" by James R. Hansen, director Damien Chazelle and writer Josh Singer took the chronicle of an American triumph and emphasised on the personal story behind it. Through Armstrong's stance, the film makes a clear point: Determination, struggle, sacrifice and most of all failure are key ingredients to someone's eventual success. But in order to achieve success you've got to risk everything, albeit success is never guaranteed.

In one scene, Janet Armstrong (excellently played by Claire Foy) claims that she only wanted to lead an ordinary life with her husband. On the contrary, Neil has made a clear choice: He will try to accomplish his great mission, knowing that it is quite possible his kids will never see their father again.

Whenever signs of arrogance, conceit and complacency are shown, they are an omen of failure. On the other hand, Armstrong's attitude is the epitome of how success is to be achieved. He is quite commited to his mission and never behaves immaturely when it comes to it. He is focused on his goal. Family and social life, well that's another story (we often see that Armstrong is incapable of communicating or expressing his feelings to his dearest ones).

Portraying such an introvert character, Gosling has a sole major moment to shine, in a very important scene which proves to be pivotal in terms of what the movie tries to communicate: USA went to the moon to win the Cold War, while Armstrong, after being marked by tragedy, went to the moon in order to find peace (and by the time his daughter's old memento reappears, we assume he has found some). The film is about him; it doesn't care that much about the US agenda. In fact, I thought that it only showed subtle contempt towards the nationalistic celebrations and the passionate political speeches aimed at boosting the spirit of the American people.

Moreover, First Man is one of those biopics where you know what is about to happen, but can't help but get caught up in the rising suspense of its great scenes. At their most exciting, these scenes reach a very satisfying climax, rewarding the audience's patience. Directing and cinematography deserve every accolade they have gotten so far.
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9/10
Thru the eyes of the first man
daniel-dippel20 October 2018
I now laugh when I reread some of the negative reviews - to summarize: it made me have motion sickness so I left, didn't develop the orher characters enough, too somber and brooding, didn't cover all of the events of Niel Armstrongs career, etc. Well, most of these individuals missed the point of the movie or don't understand this genre of storytelling. It is a first person account basically told through the eyes of the first person to walk on the moon. I found this refreshing and not your typical Hollywood approach of trying to fit too much, too thinly for such an epic sweeping story that covers decades and dozen of key figures. It could have been 3-3.5 hours long. Yes, it could have been a TV mini-series or two (or more) movies. I love that it was told through the eyes of one central figure. Told through the eyes of the man that all of the accumulated effort of thousands of people and billions of dollars spent to accomplish one goal before the Soviets and for humankind - having a human step foot on the moon for the first time. I cannot remember a cinematic experience that got me as close to experiencing what it was truly like to be there first hand, in the drivers seat if you will, or better put, insabely strapped into a coffin fixed atop a massive liquid fuel explosion. How any person would be brave enough to face this, be able to perform well while in the thick of it and want to do it again and again is beyond words (or sanity). With death and fear all around no wonder there was a dark cloud hanging over everyone. I am sure all of us have marvelled at what has been accomplished by the NASA space missions especially Apollo. The movie Apollo 13 was a very good story that I thought put me as close to being an Astronaut as i could get. I was wrong. So, go and see First Man. Go and let yourself become THE astronaut. THE first human that was there at the very top of a giant pyramid of people because many before had made the ultimate sacrifice to make possible one giant leap for mankind. i will never look at another manned space vehicle, past or present, or astronaut again the same way,
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7/10
Good, Not Great
bobzmcishl3 October 2018
I saw this movie at a sneak preview, and I had high expectations given the hype, but sadly, this was no "The Right Stuff." The problem may lie in the main character on which the movie is based, Neil Armstrong. He is portrayed as a colorless technocrat, who is somewhat cold to his family. The movie focuses mainly on his family relationships, and the landing on the moon is somewhat secondary, therefore the movie lacks a lot of drama. This is unfortunate since Armstrong led a very charmed life as a fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. The movie covers three of his serious incidents while flying, and he had at least three more, that could have been covered in a miniseries. A miniseries would have allowed for more in-depth probing of how Armstrong became the man he was. The main characters all suffer from superficial once overs. The astronauts were all household names but you wouldn't know it from this movie. The movie also had a hard time capturing just how terrifying some of the events were. Apollo 13 did a far better job of recounting the terror of that flight. Claire Foy as the wife was ok but she also had a degree of coldness about her. The movie also glosses over the misplaced disdain military pilots had for their civilian counterparts. The complaint was that civilian pilots by virtue of their engineering training were too mechanical and not true flyers. This was not true of Armstrong who got his pilots license at the age of 17. The movie should have started there. He was considered a brilliant engineer by his peers, and he was rightfully selected to be the commander of Apollo 11. That brilliance is not captured on screen. By the end of his career he had flown over 200 different aircraft. He was a giant. I think the movie should have brought that out.
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9/10
From Utterly Terrifying Spaceflight To Raw Emotional Gut-Punch, First Man is Setllar
BlurayAddictAU28 September 2018
First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle cold opens with that I could only describe as an absolutely terrifying look at what it was like to be a test pilot in the 60's, you hear every little nut and bolt warping and you feel every massive unnerving vibration for what felt like an eternity. This set the tone for the rest of the film and signalled that we were in for one hell of a ride.

And yet First Man is not just a bunch of planes and rockets flying around, in fact the entire Film is mostly more focused on Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and how all of these event leading up to the Moon Landing affected him, specifically his mental state. This is where the film absolutely excels, by chronicling his journey from test pilot all the way to Apollo, losing friends along the way.

Gosling and Claire Foy push out really stellar performances here, the relationship between the two seems very very plausible and there is a lot of very emotionally charged scenes between them throughout. The supporting cast is packed to the brim with recognisable faces too, a standout for me was Jason Clarke's performance as Ed White, the first American to EVA in space who at first I thought I really wasn't going to like the character but by the mid-point of the film I was sold.

One of the qualities of First Man that I noticed almost instantly was the very unique Cinematography which most of the time uses handheld medium to long telephoto shots creating a very intimate and raw look to the images on screen. The other main quality visually is the fact that most of the film was shot with 2-perf Techniscope film which gives a very organic vintage look, usually i'd take issue with a lower resolution stock for a film like this but here it really fits in with the overall aesthetics.

In First Man we do get some really ridiculously stellar space sequences, the way these are edited and shot create almost pure dread, in fact the only time I have felt this on edge was when I saw Gravity for the first time, it is that bloody good. Production design is fantastic and of course when we get to the Apollo sequence the images on the screen are graceful and an utterly mesmerising experience.

From impeccably shot terrifying spaceflight to absolute gut wrenching heartbreak, First Man is something to be seen on the biggest screen possible with the loudest sound. I highly recommend this film and the moment this comes out in UltraHD you can be sure I'll be there Day 1.

Thanks to Universal Pictures Australia for the invite to the Premiere.
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6/10
One of the most momentous events in history, turned into a depressing drag.
brianjsmith-8640813 October 2018
If you are thinking this is going to be a fun, great movie like Apollo 13, well, just rent Apollo 13 and watch that one again.

I've been a 'space-nut' and an aficionado of NASA and the space program since I was a kid in the 70's. I'm not sure how they could have made a movie about Neil Armstrong and the first moon landing more sobby-eyed or depressing. It managed to capture none of the majesty, grandeur, or scope of the undertaking- it was just a wet-blanket of constant angst.

The close ups were so close-up that they made you want to back right out of the theater, and were shot in a way to make them resemble shaky-handed home-video footage shot on a hand-held. The camera just refused to hold still for anything in this movie, and it was infuriating.

I'm sure, at least at a few points in his life, Neil Armstrong cracked a smile. You wouldn't think so from watching this. I know he shunned public attention, but I find it impossible to believe Neil Armstrong could possibly have been as lifeless and wooden as he was portrayed in this film. Foy's portrayal of his wife came across even colder and less joyful than her depiction of Queen Elizabeth.

Sorely disappointing. 6/10, and I feel that's being fairly generous.
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5/10
It's a good thing I'm not a director
gibbo-7720514 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Having read "First Man", the Armstrong biography, I was looking forward to the movie immensely. I personally found it bizarre that it started with Karen already gravely ill. There was no emotional attachment at all. There was no mention of Armstrong's fascination with flight, no mention of joining the navy in order to attend Purdue, leading to his near-fatal Korean war flight experience with the missing wingtip. If I was directing I would have started with his childhood fascination with flight, his scrimping and saving to pay for flying lessons, the fact that he obtained his pilot's licence before his car licence and then I would have built an emotional attachment with Janet and Karen. During the lunar descent, when the very dramatic 1202 and 1201 programme alarms occurred, I would have built the dramatic tension instead of drowning out all the drama with loud music. I would have built the drama with the 30 seconds of fuel remaining and showed the relief at Mission Control when the Eagle touched down safely. I would have showed the discussions concerning crew positions in the lunar module, resulting in Commander Armstrong exiting prior to Buzz and thereby becoming the first to put his boots on the lunar surface. I would have showed the aftermath of reaching his childhood dream, where he was required (along with Buzz and Mike) to tour the world ceaselessly, spotlighted in the limelight and hating every minute of it. It's a good thing I'm not a director because that's probably what everyone expected, whereas this film is a very different treatment. Some great visual effects and good acting and I liked the way Apollo 1 was handled - it was very respectful. However, I felt the film missed a lot of what made Neil tick - it was hard to engage.
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9/10
A beautifully told and respectable portrait of the famous astronaut's life and the significance of his contribution to human history
MrDHWong11 October 2018
First Man is a historical biographical drama film based on the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong, directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land). Starring Ryan Gosling in the lead role, it paints a beautifully told and respectable portrait of the famous astronaut's life and the significance of his contribution to human history.

In the 1960s, the space race between the USA and the USSR is at its peak, with the latter having a clear lead over the former. In attempt to outdo the Soviets, the United States plans a manned mission to the moon, with astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) being the first to set foot on the lunar surface. Despite the deep personal losses he has endured throughout his training and in his home life, Armstrong agrees to the mission, knowing full well that he may not come back alive.

Superbly directed and acted, the film is less a story about the space race itself and more about the struggles and perseverance of titular first man. Ryan Gosling gives what could very well be the performance of his career. His nuanced depiction of Neil Armstrong shows the audience how much the astronaut has to lose if he does not survive such a monumental journey. Claire Foy is also worth noting as Armstrong's first wife Janet. Her concern and worry for her husband's safe return from the moon were brilliantly represented during the film's more emotional scenes. Director Damien Chazelle demonstrates his talent for creative cinematography, showing the vastness of space and how small and insignificant Earth is in comparison. Films like this truly emphasise how much mankind has accomplished in the short amount of time we have existed and further highlight how much more is needed to be done.

I rate it a solid 9/10
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4/10
Over-long, over-hyped, over-rated
ozjosh0316 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The only real distinction of First Man may be that it's the first over-hyped and over-rated film of next year's Oscar crop. It's a film that is dismally defeated by its own subject matter at every turn. First it wants to be an illuminating, insightful study of Neil Armstrong. But on the evidence of everything it offers, Armstrong was simply not that interesting. If the most startling discovery about your hero is that he was sad about his infant daughter's death, then you're already in deep trouble. Nor is it hugely surprising that a guy who is dedicated to preparing for a mission to the moon isn't exactly a well-rounded, socially adept human being. But many a fascinating film has been built around a cerebral, emotionally-distant, socially awkward character, right? True enough, but it takes an actor with a much greater skill set than Ryan Gosling to make such a character interesting. First Man is essentially two hours of Gosling mooching around trying to find some way of making Armstrong's interior life compelling. That he fails isn't entirely due to his own shortcomings as an actor, but to a screenplay that does little more than rely on his good looks and the "glamour" of the space race to make Armstrong interesting. But the second big fail of First Man is that it doesn't offer us anything particularly new or interesting about the moon mission. Chazelle's strategy is to eschew the cliches of space movies - the focus on technology and the astronaut's eye view - and stay close on his heroes through interminable sequences in juddering space capsules. There's nothing new about this, other than it being the main, sometimes sole focus. Unfortunately, it becomes tedious long before we get to Apollo 11's trek to the moon. Even the ultimate moon sequence offers little that we don't already know from the grainy footage of the real event that everyone has seen hundreds of times. In short, the term "epic fail" could have been invented to describe First Man.
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5/10
The Wrong Stuff
aylwardpaul12 October 2018
Boring and self-important. The photography of nearly all action scenes is a real disappointment. The film misses way too many opportunities to tell what should be an enthralling story. You are better served watching The Right Stuff, The Martian, or Apollo 13.
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3/10
Do not go if you suffer motion sickness!!
deeble18514 October 2018
I went to see this movie with my partner, her mother and a 14 year old cousin. While we all appreciated it, that was the strongest recommendation from any of us. My major problem with the film was the "action" camera work. While I understand that hand held shots lead to a greater sense of immediacy, having the camera 10 cm away from the subject and shaking it violently did not draw me in, rather it repulsed me. I literally closed my eyes for any sequence where this effect was used, as it was hurting me to watch it. As far as the story goes, it felt incredibly slow and distanced. In the interpretation of Armstrong as a person, it seemed to drive me away from relating to him or the situation, and I had no sense of the grandeur or the excitement that should have accompanied such a story. I was tempted to see this movie by the 2013 webby award winning site, and I can still say that the actual recordings are much more engaging than this film.
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4/10
Glacially-paced, muddled film
rac70114 October 2018
"First Man," the highly anticipated (partial) bio-pic about Neil Armstrong, the commander of NASA's Apollo 11 mission and the first man (thus the title) to walk on the moon, is a muddled mess.

Director Damien Chazelle's film-making choices, from shaky, way-too-close cinema verite close-ups and long, long silences (OK, OK, we know Neil Armstrong was a Silent Sam type) to banging, shaking, roaring and rattling blackout shots where the viewer can't understand what's going on, to lack of exposition (about precisely that -- what's going on), to Armstrong's constantly angry wife, are not only disorienting, but unpleasantly distracting.

This film can't hold a candle to superior films like "The Right Stuff," "Apollo 13," or the excellent made-for-cable HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon."

Neil Armstrong deserved much better than this.
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6/10
Aesthetically laudable, emotionally vapid
Bertaut27 October 2018
More an intimate character drama than a grandiose examination of man's place in the cosmos, First Man is far more concerned with domesticity than the actual journey to the moon, attempting to demonstrate that behind the great moments of history exist personal demons and private motivations. Nothing wrong with that of course - contextualising small character beats against a larger historical canvas can produce excellent cinema. Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line (1998), for example, uses the Battle of Guadalcanal as the background against which to engage all manner of personalised existential Heideggerian philosophical conundrums, whilst Michael Mann's Ali (2001) is more interested in Ali's private struggles outside the ring than his public bouts within it. However, for this kind of storytelling to work, one thing is essential - emotional connection. The audience must, in some way, care about the people on screen, otherwise their introspective problems are more than likely to feel like they are just getting in the way of the larger story. And that is exactly what happens in First Man - there is a lifelessness at the film's core, an emotional vapidity that can't be filled by exceptional technical achievements and laudable craft. The film attempts to celebrate Project Gemini and the Apollo Program, whilst also working as a character study of a man known for his emotional taciturnity. And whilst it achieves the former, the film's Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) is so stoic and closed-off as to be virtually disconnected from the rest of humanity.

Based on James R. Hansen's 2005 biography, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, the film remains tied almost exclusively to Armstrong's perspective, with the occasional shift to Janet. This sets up something of a problem as the real-life Armstrong was very much a reluctant celebrity/national hero, and despite his extraordinary accomplishments, he was not the most interesting, relatable, or easy-to-empathise-with-individual of all time. Never one for the spotlight, when Hansen's biography was published, Armstrong was living unassumingly in a quiet Cincinnati suburb, whilst in a famous 2001 comment, when asked in an interview for the Johnson Space Center Oral History Project if he had ever gazed at the moon prior to the Apollo 11 mission, he replied, "No, I never did that."

With this in mind, the film sets itself the task of attempting to penetrate this most private of men, explaining why he was so singularly driven, even to the detriment of his family, to the point where not only did he plan not to tell his children he may not return from the Apollo 11 mission, he intended to leave without saying goodbye at all, until Janet changed his mind. And herein lies perhaps the film's most egregious failing. It's almost as if director Damien Chazelle and screenwriter Josh Singer think the Apollo 11 mission isn't interesting enough by itself - there needs to be some kind of deeper "why" behind the whole enterprise. Armstrong can't simply be a driven individual, his heroism isn't enough, there must be some kind of psychological motivating factor.

In any case, the attempts to tease out the inner workings of Armstrong's mind don't really work, as he remains very much in his own world, impenetrable to both the other characters in the film, and the audience - no matter what Gosling, Chazelle, and Singer do to dress him up, Armstrong comes across as aloof and interiorised. Partly at fault here is Gosling's performance, with its fulcrum of emotionless stoic masculinity. This is a performance we've seen him give several times before - The Believer (2001), Drive (2011), and, especially, Blade Runner 2049 (2017) all spring to mind, and this familiarity doesn't help matters. Instead of giving the character hidden depth, the few discernible traits he possesses instead make him something of a cardboard cut-out, a 21st-century screenwriter's idea of what an American man who grew up in the 40s and 50s should be (complete with retconned political correctness).

Another issue is that the filmmakers chose to locate Armstrong's primary motivation in the death of his daughter, Karen (Lucy Stafford), which is presented with a mawkish sentimentality that, at best, fails to convince, and, at worst, actively distracts. With the lunar mission presented as much about advancing mankind as it is dealing with personal trauma, Chazelle goes to great lengths to link Karen's death with Armstrong's determination - as she is dying, he holds her and looks wistfully into the sky (indeed, whilst the real-life Armstrong attests to never gazing profoundly at the moon, the film's Armstrong never stops looking at the thing); after her funeral, he slips her bracelet into a drawer; later, he has an hallucinatory vision of her playing with other children; and on the moon's surface, he drops the bracelet into the Lunar East crater and cries a few tears for her. At one point, his wife Janet (Claire Foy) reveals that Armstrong never mentioned Karen after the funeral, and that's a believable, and deeply emotional, detail. The problem lies in the overkill surrounding it, detracting from whatever genuine emotion such details should evoke. Every time we see Gosling stare yearningly into the sky, the potency of the film is diluted just a little bit more.

A big question in all of this, of course, is whether Armstrong really dropped the bracelet into the crater, have a vision of his daughter, and shed a few manly tears, or is this Hollywood romanticising history? The answer is, we don't know. During his interviews with Armstrong and Janet for the biography, Hansen formulated the theory that maybe Neil left something for Karen on the surface. However, when Hansen asked Armstrong if he could see the manifest for the mission, Armstrong told him he had lost it, something which would have been highly out of character for such a fastidious record-keeper. In fact, he hadn't lost it, he had donated it to the Purdue University Archives, but it is under seal until 2020. However, when Hansen asked Armstrong's sister June if it was possible he had left something of Karen's, she said that it was. So, the fact is we don't know what Armstrong did when he wandered over to the crater (his sojourn there was literally the only part of the landing that wasn't by-the-book). However, for me, the whole thing comes across as far too syrupy, an amateur psychological profiling of a man who was intensely private. Personally, I would have much preferred the Lunar East trip to remain a mystery - by showing us what they think might have happened, Hansen, Singer, and Chazelle cheapen the intensely personal nature of the moment, which Armstrong obviously chose to keep secret for a reason.

Aesthetically, Chazelle wastes absolutely no time in letting us know that this is Armstrong's film, with the excellent opening sequence taking place primarily from his POV. However, the scene also introduces the first example of Chazelle's pungent romanticism. As the shaking of Armstrong's X-15 momentarily stops, and the noise dies away, a majestic sense of calm descends. However, rather than trust the audience to extract their own interpretation of the moment, Chazelle can't resist a BCU of Gosling's eyes, with the curvature of the earth reflecting on his visor. On the other hand, a well-handled aspect of this technique is that because the film adheres so rigidly to Armstrong's perspective, very little of what he himself can't see is shown. So, for example, instead of depicting the vast infinite expanses of space, Chazelle keeps the audience tucked tightly inside the Eagle landing module (at least up to the point of the descent to Tranquility Base).

Indeed, make no mistake, the lunar landing itself is beyond spectacular, with Justin Hurwitz's incredible music and Linus Sandgren's superb cinematography coming into their own. The sequence was shot in 70mm IMAX, and it makes extraordinary use of the larger frame, with the first panorama of the lunar surface as awe-inspiring as anything in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or The Tree of Life (2011). An especially well-directed part of the lunar descent is that rather than lay down a busy foley track, Chazelle pulls out the sound out altogether, creating an eerie, otherworldly moment that literally gave me goosebumps.

Thematically, as with all three of Chazelle's previous films, the clash between the domestic and the professional is front-and-centre. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), Whiplash (2014), and La La Land (2016) all focus on artists who sacrifice emotional relationships so as to reach an artistic peak - they all stories of men whose passionate devotion to their work and pursuit of perfection alienates the women in their lives. In this sense, First Man very much fits Chazelle's oeuvre, he seems as obsessed with how men attempt to balance work and home-life as is Michael Mann. Armstrong is not an artist, of course, but he is a perfectionist, and the pursuit of his craft does make the woman who loves him unhappy. To this end, Chazelle utilises various methods, such as having NASA radio chatter play over scenes of Jan at home alone. The film's ending is also extremely low-key and private, stripping away the finery of the Apollo mission, and leaving us instead with two people attempting to re-connect.

However, despite the magisterial last 30 minutes, and some sporadically well-handled moments, First Man is underwhelming, and, for long portions, interminably dull. As good as that final sequence is, it's no compensation for the plodding and lifeless two hours that precede it. And overall, the film isn't a patch on The Right Stuff (1983).

6/10
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10/10
A cinematic masterpiece.
Shellwonderful3 October 2018
Gosling and Foy are at the top of their game in this one. Damien Chazelle managed to make a perfect moon landing movie that shows both the positives and negatives of the NASA program. Don't go into this thinking it's a huge patriotic, space adventure. What we get is a masterful character study and a story about the emotional and familial effects being an astronaut can have on somebody. The space and launch sequences are absolutely breath taking as well.

Do not let the runtime scare you. Every minutes counts and it's all worth it.
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10/10
Incredibly Moving, Visually Stunning, and Simply Breathtaking.
jlthornb515 September 2018
I was fortunate to see this fantastic movie at a small film festival in Oregon and it was a wonderful cinematic experience. A Visually stunning story of one of the great achievements of humanity. The science is fascinating and the effort behind that science is paid a wonderful tribute. The journey to the moon is as much a spiritual one as a human achievement. The men who made that trip are portrayed in all their humanness and incredible dedication. This is indeed a patriotic film and despite some controversy regarding not depicting the planting of the flag on the moon, flags are everywhere in the movie and the flag is certainly shown at the landing site. There is no doubt this was an American accomplishment and that is clearly celebrated. The inexplicable controversy about the U.S. flag is one of those contrived internet stinks from fringe elements who have never seen the film. It would be a tragedy to allow such nonsense to savage a film that is so inspiring and emotionally satisfying. This is a spectacular, exciting, stunning film and it should be seen by everyone as a reminder of the beauty of what happened in July, 1969.
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3/10
Get out of their faces!
DosLenyos13 October 2018
Close-up, after close-up, after close-up. The director of photography should be dragged outside and tarred and feathered. As if the capsule scenes weren't claustrophobic enough, did every scene with the actors have to be so tightly cropped? Gosling is not a serious actor - his portrayal of a true American hero was exhausting. Also, why do directors these days cast actors in roles of real historical people that do not even closely resemble them (Buzz Aldrin excluded)? It makes it hard to follow who is who, especially since a lot of the characters are not well developed at all. Skip it at the cineplex and watch it on video.
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4/10
Dizzying (not in a good way), slow and a bit boring
b-nice8 October 2018
I am not a film critic or student of the arts, but I do appreciate a good movie and, in my opinion, this was not one. The movie moves at a snail's pace and Chazelle's decision to shoot the majority of the movie with shaky handhelds and extreme closeups led to some real dizzying feelings for me and my wife. I felt a sense of claustrophobia the entire film due to the extreme close up and jump cuts. Maybe I am a bit dense and this is what the filmmaker was going for, but it made it a very uncomfortable experience. I kept waiting for him to pan out!

The actual story was a bit long and tedious and we never felt any real connection with the characters. The most intriguing character in the film was Buzz Aldrin and he was passed by -- I need someone to make Second Man!!! :-).

Overall, not a pleasant night at the movies.
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6/10
Bore-opic
peggynight-2425813 October 2018
Overall, I have to say, I found this pretty boring. Felt like I'd gone to church or something, if you can dig that type of boredom. Kind of a bewildered boredom that you can't put your finger on, but you know you'd have rather been doing something else. Almost anything else.

Yes, it told the story from the human side, from the side of a father and husband. Yes it was nice that the film wasn't over-glamorised with a whole heap of American chest-beating and back-slapping; if anything it showed the petty pride of the space race perhaps for what it was: a dick-swinging contest. And yes, it showed just how primitive 60s tech was, as though they were being strapped into a rocket-tomb. But boy is this film dry. When it ended I felt underwhelmed and wanting more.

Great acting from the two leads, who held the space really well. Certainly didn't find this 'visually stunning' as some reviews have said; I thought the visual treatment of the film was well considered and appropriate in that it felt very mid 60s. In fact, that's how I'd describe the film: considered and appropriate. Except for the music/score, which was c grade. But do we go to films because they're considered and appropriate? I know my father does. Yawn.
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2/10
A L--o--n--g movie
csoutherlin14 October 2018
The ending wasn't quite what was expected. It's not a bad movie, but does not excel. The biggest problem was the photography. The extreme zooms on people's faces got annoying. The audience was just not "brought in" to be a part of the film. Too much was told and not shown. A real shame, since this was our first man on the moon. The progression of the space program was not covered well, either. The "John Glen" could have been closer in looks. Just a real shame, given all the work Neal Armstrong did in his life, and the story just didn't work.
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3/10
Fails to deliver
generalthought16 October 2018
The movie was generally factually accurate.

However, any good movie should accomplish 3 objectives: 1. Educational - achieved in 'First Man' 2. Enlightening - failed 3. Entertaining - failed

Movie goers are likely to leave the movie feeling quite flat.

Not recommended.
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6/10
It felt genuine but left me bored
fallyhag14 October 2018
The attempt to make it all feel dated and real worked well. There were no glossy space scenes. Add some interesting sounds and a lot of shakes can and the overal scene approach works.

But then there is the story. We all know what happens. So it was just about the angle they approached it at. Unfortunately they picked the boring angle.

The struggle with grieving was irritating. The lack of substance in the characters was disappointing. The frame was non existent. The length too long. The outcome underwhelming. The ending an anti climatic relief.

I will remember this film for the dirty toilets, great acting and my repeated checking of my watch. If you want to learn a tiny bit then watch it. But it is sadly no masterpiece. Let down but the story telling...

Recommend? Yes. On a Sunday...
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4/10
Like watching a metronome.
biggiebaby17 October 2018
Gosling at his one dimensional best. Cluncky and disjointed, the story rides along like a low budget wannabe art film, but, with high budget actors. No character development to speak of just long lonesome staring off to the right of the camera lens. With the possible exception of the ubiquitous wife/mother scene demanding emotions from the husband/father. First Man Joins the ranks of movies you'll watch once and never again.
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4/10
First Man (to leave the theater)
marconjx15 October 2018
In my opinion First Man fails on multiple levels. From a historical perspective, there is nearly no conveyance to the audience about the political motivation that was behind the entire program to get an American on the Moon before the Soviets. The Soviets' lead in the "space race" prior to the Apollo program had been considered an existential threat in the struggle for the hearts and minds of humanity and the American government considered it essential to win the race to the Moon. While the American flag is seen at a distance next to the lunar module, the actual planting of the flag on the moon was, in a certain sense, the entire raison d'ĂȘtre for the Apollo program and yet this moment was completely ignored by director Chazelle, making such a blatant omission seem an intentional anti-American political statement. From a cinematic perspective, Chazelle seems obsessive in his constant use of closeups for even mundane moments and downright abusive in his use of "shaky shots" during moments of physical trauma. I always feel "cheated" when a director wimps out by an excessive use of shaky-shots as a cheap way to avoid the expense and creative effort otherwise required to depict what is actually happening to cause trauma. From an acting and character development perspective, none of the characters gain our sympathy or empathy in this film. Its as if they are all reading their lines from a script rather than investing themselves with the spirit of the people they are supposed to be portraying. Armstrong, in particular, is portrayed by Gosling as extremely unemotional and cool, even when saying goodbye, perhaps forever, to his wife and children. And while Armstrong may or may not have been that way, it seems overdone in this film. Strangest of all was Claire Foy's depiction of Janet Armstrong who is portrayed as constantly annoyed with her husband and resentful of the sacrifices he had to make as the first human selected to set foot on the moon. I find it hard to believe that Armstrong's wife could have been this way in reality and if she was not then Chazelle and Foy have done her a great disservice. Finally, from a story-arc perspective, the movie's pace is plodding with Chazelle spending way too much time on the familial interactions of the Armstrong clan. While this may stem from the fact the movie was based on a biography of Armstrong rather than upon a depiction of the Apollo mission itself, the fact that this was, as far as I know, the first major cinematic portrayal of mankind's first voyage to the moon really deserved a much more expansive treatment than it receives in this film. I am confident that this film will not be, nor should it be, the definitive telling of America's triumphant landing of man on the moon, a story that is epic and will require a director with an epic vision to tell the tale. It is with regret that I say that this movie and this director were not up to that task.
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3/10
Shake it all about
duncl-6843814 October 2018
This is certainly no Apollo 13

Instead of special effects they just keep shaking the camera relentlessly. There again they couldn't even film Janet Armstrong walking down her drive without shaking the camera a bit. Despite all the advances in CGI they could have probably made this on a small budget back in 1975.

It is noticeable that what I believe to be stock NASA footage like the LEM taking off is way smoother and more watchable than other bits of "Spaceflight"

There are too many close ups and not enough story telling. If Neil Armstrong really was so brooding then maybe they should of featured more of other characters like Buzz Aldrin who in his few scenes actually comes across as an enthusiastic guy.
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1/10
One of the dullest movies I have ever seen.
joppawilliam12 October 2018
Dull does not begin to describe this tediously slow and poorly directed film. No chemistry between any of the actors. Bad dialog, long blank stares, and jerky camera work. I like historical dramas, but this has to be one of the worst films I've seen in the last 20 years.
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4/10
Boring
munstermoon11 October 2018
Has some pretty cool special effects and action sequences on the realistic side, which I appreciate, but it is too loud and in your face close-ups that are overdone, especially in IMAX. Otherwise, it has some really bad family relationship stuff that is not warm and human and just downright boring. Could not stand the actress who played his wife, so if his wife was like that she was a great actress. They also made Buzz Aldrin look like a selfish jerk just there for his own glory, while everyone else was portrayed as humble and team oriented. I've met Buzz a couple of times and he was a great guy, and a man's man and I'm sure no more arrogant and cocky than that breed of pilots had to be to do that job.
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