First Man (2018)

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Critic Consensus: First Man uses a personal focus to fuel a look back at a pivotal moment in human history - and takes audiences on a soaring dramatic journey along the way.

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On the heels of their six-time Academy Award (R)-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar (R)-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures' First Man, the riveting story of NASA's mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost on Armstrong and on the nation of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

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Cast

Ryan Gosling
as Neil Armstrong
Claire Foy
as Janet Armstrong
Jason Clarke
as Edward Higgins White
Kyle Chandler
as Deke Slayton
Corey Stoll
as Buzz Aldrin
Ciarán Hinds
as Gene Kranz
Patrick Fugit
as Elliott See
Ethan Embry
as Pete Conrad
Lukas Haas
as Mike Collins
Shea Whigham
as Gus Grissom
Pablo Schreiber
as Jim Lovell
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Critic Reviews for First Man

All Critics (392) | Top Critics (44)

This is a movie that - flag or no flag - doesn't need to take a political stance to make a political statement. ●

Oct 18, 2018 | Full Review…

As long as First Man is airborne, it's a marvel. I can't recall another movie that conveyed with such punch the perils and exhilarations of spaceflight. It's when the film is earthbound that it falls down.

Oct 12, 2018 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Ryan Gosling's impassive visage must have the gravitational pull of a black hole, because Chazelle can't seem to keep his camera from being pulled loose from its moorings and drawn in thisclose for more than one or two scenes at a time.

Oct 12, 2018 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

What the movie does do is give you a hair-raising feeling of what it really felt like inside the space craft, where every hour was life-threatening and the outcome was always perilous.

Oct 12, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Observer
Top Critic

"First Man" never quite connects at a gut level. For a story that shoots for the moon, it has trouble leaving the ground.

Oct 12, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Most movies aim to take us out of ourselves. This one goes to majestic extremes.

Oct 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for First Man

There is, about society, a nonchalance about things that involve risk and take effort outside of ourselves: "Aww, that wasn't nothing!" The point of this retelling of Neil Armstrong's first step on the Moon is to remove that nonchalance, and so we are treated to a close-up look of the extreme effort and undeniable risk, and the creeping toll that took on the souls involved. Stripped away are the token patriotism and grandstanding, flag-waving, and we are left with a singular human achievement that touches our lives still. An intelligent and understanding effort.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Sure, there was The Right Stuff about the beginning of manned space exploration and there is Apollo 13 of course, but it comes as a bit of a surprise there hasn't been a movie about Neil Armstrong yet. But here it is and it very evenly balances a very private family drama and the most intense and realistic space action on film to date. It starts out with quite the emotional bang and doesn't let go over the admittedly long running time. The acting is top notch and the soundtrack one of the best of the year. Great work by everyone involved.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Relying on a beautiful score, an amazing technology and an intelligent direction that emphasizes the character's lack of anything to anchor him in his life, this is a poignant character study about a man who wants to isolate himself not only from his family but from the rest of the world.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

This is a hard left turn for Damien Chazelle, who is arguably the best director working today in my opinion. Completely different from his previous films, it seems his goal with this one is to impress rather than entertain, and he succeeds in that. The directing, acting, cinematography and personal story creates what is probably the most realistic space movie ever made, but at a price. There are some boring stretches between occasional moments of humor or intrigue. The monetary, physical and personal cost of space travel and its difficulties are illustrated perfectly, but it doesn't make for the most exciting movie.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

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