First Man ★★★

This film succeeds in achieving the spectacle that such a story warrants. You can truly feel the sublime awe of these astronomical vistas and the claustrophobic terror of reaching these views. There's much to admire on the technical end of things as well, with strong direction, cinematography, editing, and music. The story, however, is told in such broad strokes, a likely compromise due to the lengthy span of the real world saga, but this comes at the cost of emotional resonance and character development. We're kept at arms distance from Armstrong and his family, preventing any empathy for their shared plight. Gosling and the cast do their best with what they're given, but the issues seem to be more rooted in a script that restricts them into flat and archetypal characters. For me, this caused a disconnect during the constant tragedies that Armstrong and NASA endured. The former's increasing isolation from his family rings hollow given how fleeting the early moments of domestic bliss are. These fundamental issues with the story ultimately left me feeling unable to emotionally engage.

But hey, whitey's on the moon.