“First Man” is a drama movie of 2018 directed by Damien Chazelle which tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission and the man who walked on the moon for the first time, namely Neil Armstrong.
The film follows the life of Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, from 1961 to 1969, when he was selected as an astronaut for the Apollo 11 mission. The film explores his private life and his family, as well as the challenges he faces during the his NASA career, including the deaths of some of his friends and fellow astronauts.
The film focuses in particular on the personality of Armstrong, described as a reserved and introverted man who devoted himself to his mission with great commitment and dedication, sometimes at the expense of personal relationships.
Chazelle’s direction was highly praised, as were the performances of the actors, particularly that of Ryan Gosling, who received widespread praise for his portrayal of Armstrong. The cinematography and special effects were equally praised, as they allowed scenes from NASA and the mission to the Moon to be recreated with great realism.
In summary, “First Man” is a biopic exciting and moving that tells the story of a man who made the history of space exploration, through an intimate and profound story of his personal and professional life.
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The story of “First Man” follows the life of Neil Armstrong, from 1961 to 1969, with a particular focus on his career at NASA and the Apollo 11 mission that took him to the Moon.
The film opens with the death of Armstrong’s daughter, which deeply affected him and influenced his introverted and reserved personality. After this dramatic event, Armstrong joins NASA’s Gemini program, which takes him on several space missions.
The film shows the challenges Armstrong faces during his NASA career, including the deaths of some of his friends and fellow astronauts. Additionally, the tale explores his relationship with his wife Janet (played by Claire Foy) and their family, who are forced to deal with the risk of a space mission and the possibility of tragedy.
The climax of the film is the Apollo 11 mission, during which Armstrong and his crew embark on an unprecedented trip to the moon. The film shows the challenges and dangers that astronauts face during the journey, culminating with the historic moment in which Armstrong walks on the Moon and pronounces the famous phrase “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
“First Man” tells the story of Neil Armstrong through an intimate and moving narrative, which explores his private and professional life and culminates with the historic moment in which he made the history of space exploration.
Here are the main characters of “First Man”:
Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling): the film’s protagonist, NASA astronaut who becomes the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
Janet Armstrong (played by Claire Foy): Neil Armstrong’s wife, who has to deal with the risk and pressure of the space mission, as well as the death of her daughter.
Deke Slayton (played by Kyle Chandler): A top executive at NASA, who oversees space missions and selects astronauts for the Apollo 11 mission.
Ed White (played by Jason Clarke): Armstrong’s friend and fellow astronaut, who dies in a crash during a test flight.
Buzz Aldrin (portrayed by Corey Stoll): The other astronaut who is part of the Apollo 11 mission crew along with Armstrong.
Jim Lovell (portrayed by Pablo Schreiber): Another NASA astronaut, who becomes a friend and confidant of Armstrong during his NASA career.
Pat White (portrayed by Olivia Hamilton): Ed White’s wife, who becomes a friend of Janet Armstrong and provides her with emotional support during the Apollo 11 mission.
These characters, along with other members of NASA and astronaut families, help create a complete and realistic picture of the history of space exploration and the Apollo 11 mission.
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“First Man” was directed by Damien Chazelle and produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen through their production company, Temple Hill Entertainment, along with Isaac Klausner.
The screenplay was written by Josh Singer, who has also worked on films such as ‘Spotlight’ and ‘The Post’, and is based on the book ‘First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong’ by James R. Hansen.
Filming for the film was primarily done in Georgia and Louisiana, USA, and the production used several locations to recreate the atmosphere and technology of the 1960s and 1970s, including NASA Kennedy Space Center and the Johnson Space Center. The film was shot on a combination of 16mm and 35mm film to create an authentic, vintage look.
The score for the film was composed by Justin Hurwitz, who previously worked with Chazelle on “Whiplash” and “La La Land”.
The film was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on October 12, 2018 and received positive reviews from critics for Chazelle’s direction, the performances of the actors and the historical fidelity of the narrative. It also received four Academy Award nominations, winning Best Special Visual Effects.
Distribution and Reception
“First Man” was released theatrically in the United States on October 12, 2018 by Universal Pictures. The film then hit theaters worldwide in the following weeks.
Critical reception was positive: the film earned an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with most reviews praising Damien Chazelle’s direction, the actors’ performances, and the story’s historical accuracy. However, some critics have noted that the film focuses more on the figure of Neil Armstrong rather than the Apollo 11 mission itself.
Despite positive reviews, the film was unsuccessful at the box office, grossing only $105 million worldwide over its $59 million production budget.
“First Man” received four Academy Award nominations, winning Best Special Visual Effects. Additionally, the film was nominated in other categories, including Best Original Score and Best Production Design.
“First Man” features a very distinctive directing style, typical of Damien Chazelle, the director of the film. Chazelle uses a very realistic and viscerally engaging filming technique, which seeks to immerse the viewer in the story. The space scenes, in particular, were shot in a way that made the viewer feel like they were actually having the astronaut experience.
The film’s cinematography was done using 16mm and 35mm film to create an authentic and vintage feel, and the original score, composed by Justin Hurwitz, helps to underline the emotional intensity of the scenes.
The editing of the film was done in order to create a strong dramatic tension, especially in the scenes showing space flights, and to underline the most emotional moments of the story, such as the death of Armstrong’s daughter.
In general, the style of “First Man” aims to recreate the atmosphere of the 60s and 70s era and to show the human side of NASA astronauts, highlighting their fears, anxieties and worries, as well as their courage and their determination to face the most important mission of their lives.
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The director of “First Man” is Damien Chazelle, a young American filmmaker born in 1985. Chazelle became known thanks to his 2014 debut film “Whiplash”, which earned him several Oscar nominations and a win for best original script.
Following the success of ‘Whiplash’, Chazelle directed 2016’s ‘La La Land’, a musical romance that won six Academy Awards, including Best Director.
“First Man” represents a stylistic breakthrough for Chazelle, who abandoned the romantic and dreamy atmosphere of “La La Land” to focus on a more raw and realistic, but no less engaging narrative. The director stated that he wanted to create a film that was as faithful as possible to historical reality, without however renouncing a strong emotional charge.
Chazelle worked closely with the “First Man” cast and crew to create an atmosphere of collaboration and sharing, seeking to involve the actors in the creative process and give them space to explore their characters in greater depth.