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First Man (2018) Review

My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .


MPAA Rating


Running Time

141 minutes


Damien Chazelle


Josh Singer


First Man also tells the story of Neil “The Real Deal” Armstrong (Ryan “Emma Stone” Gosling) and the trials and tribulations he and other middle-aged guys had to go through in order to land on the moon. It’s Oscar Winning Director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land.

First Man opens in 1961. Neil DeGrasse Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) has just narrowly avoided death by using expert flying skills and more than a little luck. He walks away relatively unscathed and not really all that fazed. You wonder why.

You find out why. It turns out his daughter Karen has a tumor and that he’s a bit more preoccupied with that than something minor like almost dying in a plane crash. Not to worry, because the doctors will figure something out before it gets any worse and Neil and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) can get back to the regul---

Nope. Less then two minutes of screentime later Karen is dead and we’re in a funeral montage.

Don’t worry, this will not be the last funeral of the movie.

We forward a little bit into the future. Russia is dominating the US in the space race. They have beaten the US in everything except getting a man to the moon.

The US vows to devote all its resources to getting an astronaut to the moon first, but it’s a task so daunting it has to be broken down into bite-sized bits. Neil is more than happy to be a part of this since his daughter’s death. Sure, he has another young son and a baby boy on the way, but, you know, the moon.

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First Man efficiently goes through the initial Gemini manned missions and then to the Apollo mission to the moon. You as the audience get to feel first hand what it’s like to be an astronaut and then realize collectively that most of us do not have what it takes to be an astronaut.

Spoiler Alert- The US makes it to the moon first.

Making sure they all fall in line.

Making sure they all fall in line.

  • Damien Chazelle and screenwriter Josh Singer make 2 hours and 18 minutes feel like 1 hour and 57 minutes because there are no real dead spots on the movie. You’d expect the domestic scenes to drag the movie down, but Claire Foy does more than enough to make those scenes not cliché. There is a lot of technical jargon spoken but the audience is never left behind.
  • In terms of acting, Claire Foy makes the most of a small part mostly because Ryan Gosling really doesn’t say much at all as he’s being the stoic and silent for most of the movie. Foy appears in about 70% fewer scenes than Gosling, but she has more dialogue and her American accent is not as spotty as it was in last March’s Unsane.
  • The final act is technically perfect filmmaking as you see what its like for astronauts to land on the moon. If this is what it takes, I’m glad this is closet I will ever get to space.
  • There aren’t a lot of false emotions in First Man, no overwrought score to force your feelings. Having written that, you’re also not as moved as you should be. Though the movie is flawlessly executed in terms of craftsmanship, you leave the theater feeling a bit cold. If you didn’t know Damien Chazelle directed it you’d think Christopher Nolan did.
At least it didn't explode behind me. Now I can walk away from it in my cool walk.

At least it didn't explode behind me. Now I can walk away from it in my cool walk.


Expect First Man to be nominated for a bunch of Oscars come awards season as it’s one of the best made movies of the year. Recommended, though it’s not really a movie you enjoy as much as you admire.

Buy First Man Here!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Noel Penaflor

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