Tuesday, July 23, 2019

First Man: A Deeply Introspective Look into Neil Armstrong's Life

Movie Review: First Man (2018)
Version: Library Blu-Ray borrow

As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the first steps of man to the Moon in 1969, you might do well to see First Man. It's a look into the life of that first man to put a footprint on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling. Claire Foy plays his beleaguered wife.

First Man is a deeply introspect look into a complex man, an engineer test pilot, who risked his life breaking personal barriers to move the U.S. space program forward. Facing many challenges like the loss of a young daughter, he fought depression and doubt to conquer internal deprecation while still contributing to the national effort to reach the Moon. But it was at a cost to his self, his family, and friends, distancing himself from them as he focused on science and engineering instead of working through his tragedies.

This isn't an easy film to watch. We're used to lionizing our heroes and First Man very much shows the struggling, human side to Armstrong. But in watching this more real side of the hero unfold, we learn of their sacrifices and strengths in becoming really greater than the superheroes we've come to know in lore and legend. Celebrate the triumph that was Apollo 11, yes, but also celebrate the man, the family, the endeavor, and the life that was the first man to step on the Moon in real terms. First man on the Moon was a man, with foibles and weaknesses that went along with the strengths, and both sides got him to the Moon and back.  You'll get plenty of the hype elsewhere.

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