The Eagle has landed.
But this telling of the story is different from any other movie about the first lunar landing that I have experienced.
First Man is more than just a re-enactment of events. This film explores the emotional aspects and interpersonal relationships of Neil Armstrong, his wife and his fellow astronauts in the Gemini and Apollo space programs. It connects the dots of many of the influences and impacts that led up to Armstrong being the first man to set foot on the moon. With that being said, allow me to share just a couple of my first impressions (after the trailer):
My First Impressions
It showcases the less-than-glamorous side of preparing for pioneering space travel. The film is shot with in a way that lends itself to a realistic feel, which helps show the grittier side of space program, the behind-the-scenes happenings and emotions. For example, we get to see very real shots and sounds of being in the cockpit of a capsule as it takes off, not the polished and cleaner versions that we see in other movies about the space program. We get insights into the real emotions and impacts and personal struggles of these pioneering astronauts and their families. We also get a glimpse into the social and racial climate of the 1960s, even as man is preparing to go to the moon.
This is a sound and sight spectacular. Be prepared: this is a LOUD movie in places! You get the real feel of riding atop a Saturn V rocket, landing the lunar lander on the surface of the moon, and more. Thunderous noises and camera shaking add to the effects. (Note: if you are sensitive to severe motions being depicted onscreen, you may need to look away from the screen in a couple of places.)
The actors deliver. Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy (The Crown) capture the nuances of Neil and Janet Armstrong. I was amazed at how much emotion I got just from close-ups of their faces. We found out so much about the dynamics of their relationship and the losses that they experienced.
As a lover of all things space program, I thoroughly enjoyed First Man. It indulged my NASA fangirl side and my appreciation for the history of the US space program. Have you seen First Man yet? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them in the comments below!