First Man

firstman-mainstagemobile-5b1aa4a8adb93-1I recently went and saw the movie, First Man, and was pleasantly surprised.  I enjoyed it very much and it kept me entertained throughout with its suspenseful action and interesting story.  The movie is more of a biopic of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, then a primer on the Space program’s race with Russia to the moon, although that is included.   Ryan Gosling did an excellent job of portraying the serious, somewhat introverted man and the enormous courage it took to be an astronaut in those days.  Calculations that could be done by computers today had to be done by hand in some cases, even while the capsule was flying in space.

The focus is squarely on Neil Armstrong in the movie and all he had to go through to be the first man to walk on the moon.  There are numerous shots of his rigorous training and his sorrow when several friends tied in accidents related to the mission.  His family life is also portrayed well with Claire Foy doing a wonderful job as his wife.  They had a daughter die at age two of cancer several years before the moon flight and this significantly affected them, especially Neil.  Further, the anguish of the wife following the space flights and her fear for her husband is well portrayed.

In the end, Neil became the first man to walk on the moon and the scene where he did so is very dramatic and awe-inspiring to watch.  Neil was a very humble man and, not brought out in the movie, in later years did few interviews, moved to a rural area and became a teacher at a small school, and never looked for any credit for his great achievements.

One note on the controversy of the movie producers not showing the iconic moment when Neil placed the American flag on the moon which has caused some to boycott the movie, I would not let this keep someone from seeing the movie.  While the producers may well have not wanted to glorify the American achievement based on some statements they made that it was not necessary to show this due to it being an achievement for humankind, the American flag is actually shown on the moon although not being placed by Neil.  More importantly, in this age where everyone seems to be offended by every little thing, I believe it is important to not let small perceived offenses cause one to boycott movies and other events which can, as in this case, cause one to miss a really good movie.

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