Neil Armstrong’s Biopic Beats All Expectations


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Neil Armstrong (Gosling) about to board the rocket ship. Next stop: the moon!

Isadora Troncoso, Photography Editor

Damien Chazelle, the mastermind behind “Whiplash” (2014) and “La La Land” (2016), is once again joined by Ryan Gosling in this spectacular feature about the historical “one step for man, one giant leap for mankind”  moment, as described by Neil Armstrong himself.

Thanks to Chazelle’s incredible storytelling abilities, the audience not only gets to experience Armstrong’s emotions from the minute he is hired by NASA up until he lands on the moon, but also of his wife Janet, played by Claire Foy, at home raising their two boys. Foy delivers a strong, supporting spouse who respects her husband’s emotional detachment from the family due to an early tragedy, but also demands him to be honest with their children prior to his depart to the moon.

Gosling and Foy’s ability to convey emotions merely through the gaze makes the audience feel all the complexity of emotions without the need for words.

Based on author James Hansen’s book “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong,” the story takes place between the years of 1961-1969 and reveals that a giant leap for humanity comes at a great cost for Armstrong.

Shedding a light on all the technical difficulties and sacrifices that paved the way for the historical mission to be accomplished, Chazelle takes the audience through Armstrong’s reaction to each remarkable event. Scenes inside the rocket ships makes the viewer feel like they are on a space simulator ride at Disney World; it is easy to feel the tension (and nausea) felt by those who went through it.

The plot added to a first-rate cast makes this movie about what it takes to get men to space as raw and as real as it gets. It also makes other space movies such as “The Martian” (2015) look like a walk in the park.