Movie Review: First Man

While watching the very good new movie “First Man” about Neil Armstrong, I remember wondering why the story of this great American was not made into a movie 30 or 40 years ago, especially considering that the first moon landing happened almost 50 years ago. Hollywood decided in 1995 to make the movie about a failed moon mission Apollo 13 where 3 astronauts were very close to losing their lives when an explosion happened in their capsule – why not make a movie about this successful mission? It is impossible to not have great respect for all the astronauts who risked and gave their lives, especially in the 1960’s when the risks of space travel and a trip to the moon were at their highest.

Since the 1960’s a total of 20 NASA astronauts have lost their lives, including 3 astronauts who died in a fire inside their space capsule in the early stage of the Apollo missions. There were so many things that could have gone wrong in the incredibly risky ventures of both the Gemini and Apollo missions that eventually led to the moon. Due to the high level of danger involved, the courage of those who risked their lives was the most impressive part of human beings landing on the moon in July 1969. It is understandable that the cost and risk of death was so great that NASA decided to never go to the moon again, after the last Apollo Mission in 1972, with Apollo 17. I was most impressed with this film when it showed the small and dark environment of the space capsules and the extreme vibrations involved when the rocket takes off into space. Due to these vibrations, its hard to believe that so many more explosions and accidents did not occur, considering the millions of parts that were involved for each space flight. During all of the Apollo Missions to the moon, Apollo 13 being the only failure, one can easily imagine the many ways all of or some of the astronauts could have been killed, and this even included being stranded on the moon forever.

Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong, playing this this part wooden, almost emotionless, which was the personality of Neil Armstrong and one of the reasons why he was chosen to be an Astronaut in the first place. In order to fly missions as dangerous as all the astronauts did in the 1960’s being able to stay calm in an inevitable crisis was paramount. Gosling also looks like Neil Armstrong who died in 2012 of a heart ailment and I thought it was a shame that he was not alive to see this very good movie about his life and trip to the moon. Armstrong’s wife was played by Claire Foy, who does an acting job so outstanding, she will probably receive an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress.

First Man is one of the best movies of 2018 almost a guarantee to receive and Academy Award nomination for best picture and it receives my highest recommendation.