Review by Tony Polese
Before that historic moment in time with the famous line “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, we learn from First Man what Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) goes through in the lead up to this day.
From the very beginning of his career in the clouds where we see Neil witness the test pilot’s perilous 1961 X-15 flight. But not just his career is potrayed in this film where we see the heartache he faces with the death of his daughter Karen at the age of 2. As a way to overcome the grief, Neil pushes himself hard into his work and applies to be a NASA astronaut. It is a time when many applicants are all vying to be the first on the moon with President Kennedy announcing that the goal by 1970 is to have a man on the moon. Neil and many others are willing to risk death in order to reach this goal.
In the film, we also see the strong support that his wife Janet (played by Claire Foy)gives him on his journey to the moon. But we also witness how Neil does isolate her at times with his mind and focus fully on the moon.
In summary, First man is a strong bold and mind-blowing film. It’s a film where we get in the head of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Where we learn the emotions, heartache, excitement and adventures that Neil experienced before that huge day in history. And a film that portrays how Neil permanently left a mark on the moon for life from one of his greatest motivators.