“First Man”
RELEASE DATE: October 12, 2018
MPAA RATING: PG-13 (for some thematic content involving peril, and brief strong language)

The challenge of any film based on true events is that usually the filmgoer knows the ending, if not most of the details that lead to the cinematic climax. That obstacle is overcome nicely in “First Man,” the story that chronicles Neil Armstrong’s journey to become the first person to set foot on the lunar surface.

Director Damien Chazelle (“La La land,” “Whiplash”) reteams with actor Ryan Gosling to bring to the screen a compelling and fascinating story of folks who had the “right stuff” in what really was the infancy, if not toddler stage, of space exploration. Working from a terrific screenplay by Josh Singer, Chazelle manages to add even more drama to what is already an edge-of-your-seat adventure, while also pacing the film in such a way that audiences feel the poignancy of Armstrong’s backstory which includes experiencing the loss of a child.

“First Man” also reveals the stoicism of Armstrong’s wife, Janet (Claire Foy), and features strong supporting characters including Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler) and “second man” Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll).

Gosling is to be commended for finding nuance in a character that may be perceived to have a rather one-dimensional personality, making his moments of emotional vulnerability even more relatable and heartbreaking.

As you might surmise by this review, when it comes to appreciating “First Man,” I am over the moon.

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