Jake’s Take At The Movies: First Man

“First Man” will take moviegoers into space with Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). (Poster property of Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment & DreamWorks Pictures)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

First Man, the eagerly anticipated Neil Armstrong biopic, recently landed into theatres across the country.  The film’s sourced material is heavily from the 2005 James R. Hansen book, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.  Armstrong forever became a part of both space and United States history when he and Buzz Aldrin became the first Americans to land on the moon as a part of NASA’s Apollo 11 program.

Throughout First Man, moviegoers will get to see that Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) faced a bumpy road before NASA selected him and Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll).  A significant obstacle that is played throughout the film with is still haunted by his daughter, Karen’s death, by Diffuse Intrinsic Glioma (DIPG). Audiences also see Gosling’s Armstrong’s mindset as he faced stressful preparations for outer space travel and the Gemini 8 mission.

First Man also saw Armstrong deal with the deaths of several close colleagues as they lost their lives due to haywire NASA missions. Armstrong’s mood swings and obsession with the moon also affected his relationship with his wife, Janet Shearon (Claire Foy). Moviegoers should keep an eye out for an intense scene where she confronts her husband on not saying goodbye to their young boys before he went to the Kennedy Space Center for the historic Apollo 11 mission.

While Gosling headlines First Man, Claire Foy’s performance as Janet will be talked about heavily this award season. The former star of The Queen will tug viewers’ heartstrings especially during her heated conversation outside of NASA’s mission control room during the Apollo 11 mission, when they cut the NASA radio. Despite not appearing a lot in the movie, Corey Stoll showcased Buzz Aldrin’s humorous side, but he should get at least a supporting actor nomination.

First Man also delivers a powerful screenplay written by Josh Singer, who won acclaim for  Spotlight and The Post. Singer not only captures elements from Hansen’s book, but he also humanized Armstrong for future generations. I genuinely believe that Singer might be nominated for a SAG or Golden Globe this award season.

Final thoughts & grade: First Man is an excellent historical drama that showcased the physical and mental challenges that Neil Armstrong faced as he prepared his date with destiny. The film packed an impressive punch with superb performances and a fantastic screenplay that not only allows moviegoers to learn more about Neil Armstrong but also NASA’s early years. B+

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar