First Man is a biographical drama directed by Damien Chazelle that is based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. The film stars Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas, Christopher Abbott, Corey Stoll, Ciaran Hinds, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Claire Foy and Ryan Gosling.
Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in this movie and the story of First Man focuses on Neil Armstrong in the years leading up to and including the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969.
My Expectation For First Man
Damien Chazelle has made a real name for himself in the film industry. Indeed, Whiplash, a film I consider to be spectacular, put Chazelle on the map and he followed that up with La La Land which I thought was good but a huge step down from Whiplash and, to be honest, a bit overrated. Still, both of these movies received Oscar nominations and, because of this, anticipation amongst film fans has been high for First Man.
From the trailer, the movie looked visually stunning and the reviews for this film have been very positive. I was eager to see where First Man would rank amongst Whiplash and La La Land as well as concluding whether the hype for this film was earned because First Man is already being touted as a serious contender at the 2019 Oscars in categories such as Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
My Thoughts On First Man
I was left extremely underwhelmed by First Man. This film did not click with me at all. Despite some good performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, great technical elements showcased in the flying sequences and moon landing as well as a decent score by Justin Hurwitz, I was bored throughout due to how unbearably sluggish the pacing was.
For a story as inspirational and historically iconic as the Moon landing, it was so disappointing to see it brought to the screen in such a dull, cold fashion. I did not mind the focus on Neil Armstrong and his underlying recovery from a devastating loss in his family, but I was never engaged to the degree I wanted to be and I have absolutely no intention to ever watch First Man again. For me, this is Damien Chazelle’s weakest film.
Yes, I slightly prefer La La Land to First Man and that film was not one that floored me. Whiplash still remains the movie to beat and I am not confident that First Man will do well at the 2019 Oscars. I can see it getting nominations in technical categories such as sound and effects but nothing more than that in my opinion.
Even at such an early stage in awards season, I am assured in saying that First Man is nowhere near good enough to deserve a Best Picture nomination. Additionally, I have a feeling that I am going to see films with much better direction and acting performances than what I saw in First Man. So, overall, First Man was a disappointing movie when I consider how excited I was to see a film about such a momentous event in human history.