First Man

In Cinemas Now

Ryan Gosling is Neil Armstrong in this biopic written by Josh Singer (Spotlight) and directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land), both Oscar-winners.

The film, based on the official biography by James R. Hansen, follows the life of Armstrong from 1961 through to 1969, chronicling NASA's intense journey to land a man on the moon.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

  • Josh Singer
  • (based on the book 'First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong' by James R. Hansen)

Drama, True Story & Biography

141mins

Rating: M Offensive language

USA

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Aaron Yap

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It happened sooner than expected: at the tender age of 33 years old, Oscar golden boy Damien Chazelle decided it was time to make his stodgy, pedestrian Clint Eastwood-in-twilight biopic. With Whiplash and La La Land, Chazelle brought a distinctive brio to his tales of protagonists incurring sacrifices in the pursuit of greater ambition. First Man too, is a variant of this theme, sensitive, predominantly, to the personal collateral damage of its characters above all else.

Showcasing an impressive Nolan-esque facility with hardware Chazelle only previously hinted at, the film is unfortunately a dramatically inert chronicle of Neil Armstrong’s journey to his historic moon landing with Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. In weighing up Armstrong’s inner war–his duty to science, country, family–the film rarely deviates from this one note for two hours and twenty-one minutes. We definitely get it: space travel is torture.

Individual sequences inspire awe, and are perhaps as close as we’ve come to “being there” in a theatre. The opening test flight is a riveting, masterfully visceral experience. First Man never loses sight of its central horror: these are essentially human guinea pigs, encased in clattering, claustrophobic steel coffins, sitting on gallons of rocket fuel.

But Chazelle’s solemnity-equals-profundity approach, affected with Malick-style period lyricism and grossly overused shaky-cam, makes one crave a grand entertainment like The Right Stuff or even–dare I say it–Apollo 13. Ryan Gosling imbues Armstrong with a familiar robotic remove, which made a snug fit for pulpier genre fictions like Drive and Blade Runner 2049, but struggles to connect here against the weight of history. The first man on the moon, it turns out, is a bit of a bore.

Variety (USA)

press

After seeing First Man, it’s doubtful you’ll think about space flight, or Armstrong’s historic walk, in quite the same way.

Guardian (UK)

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It is a movie packed with wonderful vehemence and rapture: it has a yearning to do justice to this existential adventure and to the head-spinning experience of looking back on Earth from another planet.

Hollywood Reporter

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This sober, contemplative picture has emotional involvement, visceral tension, and yes, even suspense, in addition to stunning technical craft.

Telegraph (UK)

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Chazelle has always specialised in virtuoso endings, and his sure hand and sharp eye brings this ambitious character study smoothly into land.

Little White Lies

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This is a confident but pretty bland technical exercise... The overall result is an authentic, visually impressive viewing experience that doesn't quite land.

The Times (UK)

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The film reconstitutes our taciturn hero as a man riven with grief after the death of his daughter...It's a bold move and seems to inform Gosling's every decision as an actor.

Vanity Fair

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All that gloom gradually smothers the film, with each shot of Armstrong staring, pained, at the moon (we get it; that's where he's going) further diluting the movie's pull.

Australian (David Stratton)

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The performances by Gosling - in a difficult, interior role - and Foy are exemplary.

Herald Sun (Australia)

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Though its bravely unorthodox visual style and skeletal storytelling structure are sure to divide viewers in months to come, First Man is still undoubtedly one of the best and most significant movie releases of 2018.

FilmInk (Australia)

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...a down-to-earth and frequently nail-biting piece of cinema.

Time Out (New York)

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Thrilling when it escapes the gravity of drab living rooms and offices, First Man does an admirable job of complexifying a well-told tale.

Empire (UK)

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Astonishing. The definitive take on a monumental moment in history - without ever losing sight of the man underneath the visor.

Total Film (UK)

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Gosling and especially Foy are out of this world.

Los Angeles Times

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Whatever its missteps, "First Man" represents a principled attempt to reconsider what heroism looks and sounds like, to think beyond the reductive rah-rah parameters that have led so many to confuse jingoism with art.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

First Man is the opposite of triumphalist, but an absolute triumph from beginning to end.

Bio-Pic Needed To Dive Deeper

Technically, amazing. When it comes to crafting an engaging story I was left bored and uninterested, I really wanted to care but I was too bust thinking about what I was doing afterwards rather than the actual movie. Claire Foy steals the show but other then that its not really worth the $18


Among the best biopics of recent years

From the first moment to the last, this film is an utter triumph. Damien Chazelle's understated approach to one of history's greatest moments deserves the highest praise. Impeccable acting, fantastic cinematography, mindblowing sound mixing and editing, this film will be deservedly recognized at the upcoming awards season. On every level, there is not a wasted moment. Go see it - I guarantee you will be nothing short of awestruck at how simply this film will amaze you.


Maybe a bit long

Don't get me wrong, there are some great performances (and an outstanding one by Claire Foye). But at the end of the day, I did feel the movie was about 20-30 minutes too long. Too many long shots ...

... but hey, what do I know. Go and make up your own mind; I certainly don't regret seeing this movie.


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Wow! Such a moving story about Neil Armstrong. It really puts you into the feel of how stressful the situations were. The use of real footage throughout the movie was seamless and really pushed home how it was at that time. Great movie.


That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

This is amazing piece of film art. They really put you inside the film and show you what you would see, feel and think. I felt like I was really in Neil Armstrong's shoes through this film.Two stars flick guys?? Go and watch it again.


Not a wasted moment

141 minutes is a long time in a movie. First Man holds it together well. It's tense and revealing giving good backstory to the space race.