Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Shea Whigham, Christopher Abbott, Jon Bernthal, Brian d’Arcy James, Pablo Schreiber, Patrick Fugit, Cory Michael Smith, Lukas Haas
OUR RATING: ★★½
Bio-drama directed by Damien Chazelle. First Man focuses on the life of the legendary Astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon. Exploring the sacrifices and costs on the Nation and Neil himself, during one of the most dangerous missions in the history of space travel.
Our Favorite Quote:
Deke Slayton: Why do you think space flight is important?
Neil Armstrong: I had a few opportunities in the X-15 to observe the atmosphere. It was so thin, such a small part of the Earth, that you could barely see it at all. And when you’re down here in the crowd and you look up, it looks pretty big and you don’t think about it too much. But when you get a different vantage point, it changes your perspective. I don’t know what space exploration will uncover, but I don’t think it’ll be a exploration just for the sake of exploration. I think it’ll be more the fact that it allows us to see things that maybe we should have seen a long time ago, but just haven’t been able to until now.
Pete Conrad: Neil, I was sorry to hear about your daughter.
Neil Armstrong: I’m sorry, is there a question?
Pete Conrad: What I mean is, do you think it will have an effect?
Neil Armstrong: I think it would be unreasonable to assume that it wouldn’t have some effect.
Janet Armstrong: It’s a fresh start.
Neil Armstrong: Are you sure?
Janet Armstrong: Yeah.
Janet Armstrong: It’ll be an adventure.
Deke Slayton: The Soviets have beaten us at every single major space accomplishment. Our program couldn’t compete. So we’ve chosen to focus on a job so difficult, requiring so many technological developments, that the Russians are going to have to start from scratch, as will we.
Elliott See: First man to walk in space. That’d be something, huh?
Ed White: Yeah. Well, you know, the walking’s the easy part. It’s getting back inside that’s tough. You know, it’d be a hell of a ride to come back with my tail hanging out.
NASA Engineer #1: [as they’re being strapped into the spacecraft] Does anybody got a Swiss Army knife?
NASA Engineer #2: Hold on, hold on a sec.
Dave Scott: What did you say?
NASA Engineer #2: See if this will do the trick.
NASA Engineer #1: A Swiss Army knife?
[as he tries to fix the seat strap]
NASA Engineer #1: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It’s just a little…
Dave Scott: Are you kidding me?
NASA Engineer #1: There we go.
NASA Projection: T-minus twenty seconds. Mark. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Ignition. Liftoff!
CSQ Gemini Systems: Gemini 8, how do you read?
Neil Armstrong: We have serious problems. We’re tumbling end over end up here. We’re disengaged from the Agena.
CSQ Gemini Systems: Okay, we got your spacecraft free indication here. What seems to be the problem?
Neil Armstrong: We’re rolling up and we can’t turn anything off. We’re continuously increasing in a left roll.
Flight Activities Director: CSQ, Flight.
CSQ Gemini Systems: Go ahead, Flight.
Flight Activities Director: Did he say he cannot turn the Agena off?
CSQ Gemini Systems: No, he says he’s separated from the Agena and he’s in a roll, and he can’t stop it.
Deke Slayton: Jan, you have to trust us. We’ve got this under control.
Janet Armstrong: No, you don’t. All these protocols and procedures to make it seem like you have it under control. But you’re a bunch of boys making models out of balsa wood. You don’t have anything under control!
French Reporter: Did you have any feeling of anxiety after the failure of the thrusters?
[Neil doesn’t reply]
German Reporter: In the midst of the spinning, did you seem to realize or feel the presence of God closer than other times?
[Neil doesn’t reply]
Times Reporter: With this so hot on the heels of the loss of Charlie Bassett and Elliot See, do you question whether the program is worth the cost, in money and in lives?
Janet Armstrong: I married Neil because I wanted a normal life. I know. I know. He was just so different from all the other boys on campus. He’d been through the war. You know? He knew what he wanted to do. He just seemed so stable. I guess all I wanted was stability.
Pat White: I’ve got a sorority sister with a normal life.
Janet Armstrong: Yeah?
Pat White: She married a dentist.
Janet Armstrong: A dentist. Sounds good.
Pat White: He’s home by six every night. And every few months, she calls to say she wishes he weren’t.
Deke Slayton: [over phone] Neil, we had a problem with the plugs-out test.
Neil Armstrong: Well, that’s why we have tests, right? We’ll figure it out.
Deke Slayton: There was a fire. God, there’s no easy way to say this. Ed, Gus, and Roger, they’re gone. We think it was a wiring issue. A spark in all that oxygen. It happened very quickly. Now, listen, we need you guys to head back to the hotel. The press is going to be all over this. Congress is going to be calling for investigations. We just don’t want you guys in the middle of all of that. Do you understand?
Neil Armstrong: Yeah.
Deke Slayton: Alright, then.
Neil Armstrong: Okay.
Deke Slayton: The vehicle is not safe.
Neil Armstrong: Well, unfortunately, it’s the best simulation we have.
Bob Gilruth: And you and the others are too valuable.
Deke Slayton: It’s a fly-by-wire system that’s got no backup.
Neil Armstrong: The ejection seat is the backup.
Bob Gilruth: Political fallout from another accident will compromise our…
Neil Armstrong: With all due respect, sir, it’s not my job to worry about the political fallout.
Deke Slayton: The damn thing could’ve killed you.
Neil Armstrong: Well, it didn’t.
Deke Slayton: A split second more, and you would not be…
Neil Armstrong: Well, we need to fail. We need to fail down here, so we don’t fail up there.
Bob Gilruth: Okay, Neil, Neil. At what cost, huh?
Neil Armstrong: At what cost? Well, it’s a little bit late for that question, isn’t it, sir?
Mike Collins: [referring to the spacecraft] Man, that is a big mother.
Mike Collins: So you think you’re going to the Moon.
Buzz Aldrin: It’s been up for grabs since Gus died. I’m just saying what you’re thinking.
Neil Armstrong: Well, maybe you shouldn’t.
Deke Slayton: [to Neil] Everything stays on track, eleven’s going to be the landing. I talked to Bob, everyone’s in agreement. We’d like you to command.
Rick Armstrong: Mom, what’s wrong?
Janet Armstrong: Hm?
Rick Armstrong: What’s wrong?
Janet Armstrong: Nothing, honey. Your dad’s going to the Moon.
Rick Armstrong: Okay. Can I go outside?
Janet Armstrong: Sure.
Reporter: Neil, if it does turn out, you’ll go down in history. What kind of thoughts do you have about that when the thought hits you, “Uh, gosh, suppose that flight’s successful…”
Neil Armstrong: We’re planning on that flight being successful.
Reporter: I just meant how you feel about being a part of history.
Buzz Aldrin: I think I can shed some light here. It’s a responsibility, but it’s exciting to be the first. Even my wife is excited. She keeps slipping jewelry into my PPK.
Reporter: You’re planning on taking some of her jewelry to the Moon, Buzz?
Buzz Aldrin: Sure. What fella wouldn’t want to give his wife bragging rights?
Reporter: Neil, will you take anything?
Neil Armstrong: If I had a choice, I’d take more fuel.
Janet Armstrong: Neil, I need you to talk to the boys. Can you hear me? I need you to talk to the boys. What are you doing? Stop.
Neil Armstrong: I’m going to work.
Janet Armstrong: Well, just stop it. Just stop. Stop packing! What are the chances you’re not coming back? Hm? What are the chances this is the last time the boys are going to see you?
Neil Armstrong: Well, I can’t give you an exact number.
Janet Armstrong: I don’t want a f***ing number, Neil! It’s not zero, is it? Is it?
Neil Armstrong: No.
Janet Armstrong: No, it’s not. Pat doesn’t have a husband. Those kids, they don’t have a father anymore. Do you understand what that means? What are the chances that’s going to be Ricky and Mark? And I can’t tell them that their dad spent the last few minutes packing his briefcase! You’re going to sit them down, both of them, and you’re going to prepare them for the fact that you might not ever come home. You’re doing that. You. Not me. I’m done. So you better start thinking about what you’re going to say.
Rick Armstrong: Do you think you’re coming back?
Neil Armstrong: We have real confidence in the mission. And there are some risks, but we have every intention of coming back.
Rick Armstrong: But you might not.
[Neil pauses uncomfortably before replying]
Neil Armstrong: That’s right.
Neil Armstrong: [as he steps down to walk on the moon] That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
ICY (West Point, NY) says
Being a devoted buff of all things Astronaut related I was waiting for a film of this nature. Little did I know that the moon landing in 1969 was more of a minor point to this film. This film should have been listed under “therapy based”, because this film dealt more with the demons inside Neil Armstrong then the moon landing and the historic action it was to highlight. Greatly disappointed and to add insult to injury it really didn’t have the planting of the US Flag upon the moon which was one of the major highlights of the landing. It’s a shame that Hollywood has sunk so low as to go from being pro-American when films of this nature were made and shown to now being carelessly made to appease a minority group of people due to political PC pressure.
Tami S (Orange, CA) says
I especially watched the movie with my son who works at NASA. I was excited because I thought it would be about the mission and Armstrong’s journey through it. But as the movie progressed, it was clear that it was more about him as a human. Even there I felt like the movie failed the audience. Armstrong (Gosling) was cold and expressionless, his humanity never came through. I understand his military background might be the reason why, but everything was touched on at a superficial level. The movie seemed fragmented and incomplete.
Steven Carpenter says
Neil says “One small step for a man,” but communications link radio static leaves the “a” out in the broadcast.
“We need to fail down here, so we won’t up there.” Is good test engineering, and risk mitigation management, systems engineering, in a movie!