Actor Ryan Gosling and Director Damien Chazelle meet on set once again to showcase the remarkable achievement the U.S. made in 1969 by becoming the first country to visit the moon. The pair that brought us “La La Land” now feature the challenges that led up to the successful launch of spaceflight Apollo 11 on the big screen.
The opening scene sets the precedent for the turbulent journey ahead, as Neil Armstrong played by Gosling, struggles to overpower an out of control plane. His navigation through the turbulence shows just how strong his character is further intriguing moviegoers to see how this pilot lands a position with NASA.
“First Man” explores the painstaking race Americans faced to get to the moon back in the 1960s before the Soviet Union. A moment in history often depicted in television shows and movies has not quite been executed as precisely as this time.
Not only do we see the emotions through the trials and tribulations faced by the team at NASA but we see the way Armstrong dealt with the struggles that came with the out of the world challenges. While Gosling has said if given the opportunity to go to the moon he would “pass“, the actor does a great job at highlighting Armstrong’s real life endeavors and passion for space exploration.
Although space travel is often seen as a magical experience Chazelle focuses his time on highlighting the humanity of it all. The raw emotions astronauts felt during their attempts into space contrast the anger Americans felt after the loss of lives and millions spent.
From the opening scene to the ending, Chazelle does what many in “space movies” fail to do as he brings fear and endearment forward as a theme that usually is dismissed.
A man who is portrayed as beyond this world, indeed struggled with the reality of life and death throughout the course of his career. Armstrong seems to maneuver the world so eloquently, reacting to the opportunity to work with NASA almost the same as he did to the death of his ill daughter.
Cliche as it may be the movie reveals a side of the accomplished, history makers as just like everyone else. Overall the movie is just as much about Armstrong’s historical achievement, as his struggle to find balance in the world and fight his internalized pain.