First Man

First Man ★★★★½

"You're a bunch of boys making models out of balsa wood!" - Janet,

2018 Ranked:

How do you make a movie about a fairly normal, standup guy who does the most impressive thing ever achieved by humanity up to that point? You do this.

I should say that biography is one of my least favorite film types because I hate changing historical facts for entertainment value. This movie doesn't really do that almost at all and it's amazing. Neil Armstrong was, from all accounts, a quiet man with a good work ethic and a strong moral character and Ryan Gosling plays him perfectly. Given that most of the facts in this film can be learned by spending 10 minutes on Wikipedia, Chazelle focuses so much of the screen time on trying to connect the audience to NASA via the senses. There are long impressive shots of the friction of going through space, the haunting quiet of space, the claustrophobia of the spacecraft, the need to be calm during the most panicked moments imaginable, and the need to separate space life from the life of a father and husband. I'm a space geek (1990 winner of the "right stuff" award at space camp) so for me the atmosphere is perfect.

Claire Foy fucking kills it as Janet Armstrong and I hope that she gets considered for an Oscar. In addition, I loved the portrayal of Buzz Aldrin who is my type of cocky jerk.

See this soon, on IMAX if possible.

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