RowanHarper’s review published on Letterboxd:
First man is a perfectly acceptable biography movie...which means it blends together with all the other perfectly acceptable biography movies (Apollo 13, The Post, The Imitation Game, etc) These are films that, despite being about very different things feel exactly the same to me. This isn't necessarily a BIG deal, I mean all these films are enjoyable watches, and its important they stay true to the facts and the real people, but sometimes it can be annoying to an audience member when you feel like you are watching the same film you watched last week. To be fair this film has incredible aspects about it to help it stand out. For example the score is exceptional. Ryan Gosling is fantastic as Neil Armstrong. The SFX are seamless. But overall I think I the best thing about this film is its pacing when it comes to creating emotional and awe - inspiring moments. The last 20 minutes or so is genuinely some of the best filmmaking I have ever seen. There are also plenty of really effective emotional moments scattered throughout. That all being said there are some really bad aspects about this film, like what was up with that cinematograpy? Completely flat and lacking in color. One of the overlooked aspects about cinematography is it help keeps the audience visually engaged, dull cinematography is worse than terrible cinematography because dull equals bored. As much as I hate to say it I did not care about Neil's family. Characters that take up a lot of screen time and are somehow completely underwritten. I did however like his friends and co-workers. The direction is pretty good. This is Damian Shazelle (Whiplash, La La land). This is however easily his weakest film. I would say still check it out...it is worth your time.