“First Man”: Small Steps and Great Leaps

“First Man,” starring Ryan Gosling, gives viewers a glimpse into the complex character of Neil Armstrong. Photo: Courtesy.

I have to admit I was one of those people who thought “La La Land” was a beautiful movie yet somehow it was missing a heartbeat. With “First Man”, Damien Chazelle, who directed the aforementioned “La La Land”, has created a film that has such a strong pulse it seems to have a life of its own. The opening scenes of First Man will pull you right into the screen and take you on a ride above the earth’s atmosphere whileseated beside legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong, a role played admirably by Ryan Gosling. Gosling is able to give us a completely believable and intimate look into Armstrong’s complex, highly intelligent and introspective personality, infused with his appetite for the rush of challenges and risks. Claire Foy is the perfect choice to portray Armstrong’s powerfully quiet wife Janet who reveals that she actually has more strength than anyone in the astronauts’ tight circle of insiders.

The screenplay is perfection. This is one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen of the essence of a person’s life and existence. Armstrong comes alive. The sequences that build up to the moon landing are perfectly orchestrated. Every character is well played and instrumental to the story. The sound track by Chazelle’s longtime friend and collaborator Justin Hurwitz is superb – it’s completely original in style and fits this story exceptionally well.

You will find, if you are old enough, that watching this movie will bring back vivid memories of the moon landing. This film celebrates our life on this planet and our courage to contemplate and explore the unknown, both physically and in spirit. “First Man” from beginning to end is a unique and powerful vision of what drove this “first man” and his generation to succeed in taking that first step on the moon (and the last for at least five decades to follow.)

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. [email protected]