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First Man (2018)

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A look at the life of the astronaut, metacritic.com
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Director's Trademarks: The Films of Damien Chazelle

First Man director Damien Chazelle's cinematic world is populated by characters driven by singular ambition and framed with technical and stylistic flourishes.

Watch our guide to Damien's films

Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Gosling ... Neil Armstrong
Claire Foy ... Janet Armstrong
Jason Clarke ... Ed White
Kyle Chandler ... Deke Slayton
Corey Stoll ... Buzz Aldrin
Patrick Fugit ... Elliot See
Christopher Abbott ... Dave Scott
Ciarán Hinds ... Bob Gilruth
Olivia Hamilton ... Pat White
Pablo Schreiber ... Jim Lovell
Shea Whigham ... Gus Grissom
Lukas Haas ... Mike Collins
Ethan Embry ... Pete Conrad
Brian d'Arcy James ... Joe Walker
Cory Michael Smith ... Roger Chaffee
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Storyline

A Biopic on the life of the legendary American Astronaut Neil Armstrong from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon. Exploring the sacrifices and costs on the Nation and Neil himself, during one of the most dangerous missions in the history of space travel. Written by Matthew Villella

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Experience the impossible journey to the Moon. See more »


Certificate:

6 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 2018 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

El primer hombre en la luna See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,006,065, 14 October 2018, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,797,205, 12 December 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Atmos | DTS (DTS: X)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original music composed by Justin Hurwitz features various uncommon instruments including theremin (which Hurwitz had learned to play and his performances are in the final score), Moog synthesizer and an Echoplex which give the score its uniqueness. He also rerecorded a string orchestra being played back through a Leslie rotor cabinet to create special sound effects. See more »

Goofs

In the last meal before the Apollo 11 crew heads into space, Neil Armstrong is shown eating using the European style, with fork in left hand with the tines pointed down. This surprises some American viewers but Armstrong did eat this specific breakfast in that specific manner - it is seen in the famous sketch by Paul Calle and various photographs for example. See more »

Quotes

Janet Armstrong: Pat doesn't have a husband. Those kids, they don't have a father anymore. Do you understand what that means? What are the chances that's going to be Ricky and Mark? And I can't tell them that their dad spent the last few minutes packing his briefcase! You're gonna sit them down. Both of them. And you're going to prepare them for the fact that you might not ever come home. You're doing that. You. Not me. I'm done.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Near the end of the closing credits, the music is replaced by radio chatter from the mission. See more »


Soundtracks

500 MILES
Written by Hedy West
Performed by Peter Paul & Mary (as Peter, Paul & Mary)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent Understated Biopic
16 October 2018 | by Jared_AndrewsSee all my reviews

The opening scene will take your breath away. I don't think a single cell in my body flinched for a solid five minutes as I watched Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) fight to keep his craft from floating away into space. The scene is spectacular visually and in every sense of filmmaking execution. It's also a bit misleading.

The rest of the movie, aside from the moon landing, is remarkably tame. It's quiet. There are virtually no loud outbursts or emotional speeches. This story is about people doing their jobs, completing their missions. Gosling understands this and plays to Armstrong's stoicism perfectly. He is often an understated actor, choosing to let his subtle facial movements and glints of the eyes do as much talking as what actually comes out of his mouth. Neil is much the same except even less outwardly expressive. He clearly comes from a generation that did not display emotion. They suffered in silence, which no doubt frustrated many family members, especially spouses.

Armstrong's wife Janet (Claire Foy) is a classic case of a spouse desperate to glimpse beyond his emotional shield. She restrains for the most part, but her building frustration is apparent throughout. When she finally does unleash her emotions, it's startling. Her outbursts stand out in such stark contrast to the silence that we see from the other characters. Foy is smart and measured with every choice she makes, and she never comes across as unhinged or overly supportive to a point of unbelievability. She's strong as a quiet devoted partner and strong when she senses the need to speak up. Look for her to add another award nomination to her resume come that time of year.

For as great as Gosling and Foy are, Damien Chazelle is the star of this movie, just like he has been the star of every one of his movies. I don't mean this as a bad thing. They guy is simply so skilled at what he does that his impact stands out among all the other standouts in his movies. He doesn't take the conventional approach to a space movie, which is to hammer viewers with showy visuals and action sequences. He's careful not to overdo it those areas, instead focusing on Armstrong's psyche and life outside the space shuttle. Chazelle crafts a personal, intimate film and shoots it in a creative way that uses a variety of framing choices so the closeups never feel stale.

This is a giant story told on a deliberately small scale. The choice to focus on Armstrong's objectively less captivating homelife rather than the moon mission is risky. Only the most talented of filmmakers, which Chazelle is, could pull it off. "First Man" is another showcase of Chazelle's mastery. He's one of the best directors currently working. The fact that this film may eventually be considered Chazelle's 6th or 7th best and is still this excellent, is a tribute to his talent.


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