First Man Movie Review


Jake Ditto, co-Editor-in-Chief

First Man was one of my most anticipated movies of the year with Damien Chazelle directing the project after winning an Oscar for his previous film La La Land.

The thing I appreciate most about this film is that it’s not your conventional space movie. I really like how Chazelle made a biopic for Neil Armstrong’s life, rather than making a movie about landing on the moon. Because of this, a majority of the movie is just conversation about the hardships of Armstrong’s life. There are very few scenes that even take place in space, and when they do they are incredibly suspenseful.

Ryan Gosling gives one of the best performances of his career. He is a very subdued actor and never really shows a lot of emotion in his roles. It is the same with this movie, but in certain scenes where Gosling does show quite a bit of emotion, it is very powerful. There are specific scenes where Gosling will show quite a bit of energy, and when he does it is very powerful.

The supporting cast including Claire Foy and Jason Clarke are also very good in this film. This is the first time I got to see Foy act and I was very impressed. She gives such a powerful performance and she deserves an Oscar nomination for her work in this film. In this film I was also surprised by Jason Clarke because I never thought he was that good in any other movie I’ve seen him in, but he was really likeable and felt more natural in this film compared to his others.

One of my favorite aspects of this movie was the cinematography. It feels like you are watching home videos because of the handheld camera used throughout mixed with the zoom-ins and the grainy image quality the film has. The cinematography may not have the beautiful camera movements or have the look of Chazelle’s previous film La La Land did, but it is one of the best parts of this movie. This is also up there with BlacKkKlansman as one of the best edited films of the year. The best example is when something is wrong in the rocket that the astronauts are in.

The only issue I have with this film is that because of how Chazelle directs the film by being dialogue heavy, the film can get slow at points. Even though there are points where the film gets slow, there are an equal amount of scenes the are very entertaining or touching. One of the best examples is when Neil Armstrong has to talk to his kids before he goes to the moon to tell them that he may not make it home. At the end of that scene, Armstrong’s youngest kid asks him a question that made me get really choked up.

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen all year but it is different from other space movies like Apollo 13 or Interstellar, and if you go into this expecting to see most of the movie is space you will be very disappointed by this movie, like everyone in my theater did when there  was groaning when the end credits came up.


Grade: A