Despite the fact that sci-fi movies are not my usual go to film genre (seriously I have no interest in watching classics such as Star Trek or Star Wars), I did not think twice about going to watch First Man when I saw Ryan Gosling was going to play the lead. The 37 year old star, who began his acting career as a child star on the 1993-1995 The Micky Mouse Club and went on to gain international attention for his portrayal of Noah Calhoun in the commercially successful 2004 romantic drama The Notebook, gave an impressive performance in his ‘one man show’ of a role. His portrayal as Neil Armstrong and his journey to become the first man on the moon really gave the audience a plausible insight into what it must have been like for America’s hero; a performance which in itself, for me, is Oscar worthy.
“He took on the role with great charisma and intensity”
After missing out on the Oscar for his 2017 performance in the romantic-musical-comedy- drama La La Land, I would not be surprised if Gosling were to come away this year being successful. He took on the role with great charisma and intensity, and it would have been hard to picture any other actor doing the role the justice Gosling gave it.
The film aims to reveal the intimate life and journey of the man who made history, beating the Japanese and Soviets in the race of all races to make the impossible, possible. Director Damien Chazelle made sure to show the ins and outs of what Armstrong’s family life would have been like, and how difficult it must have been for his loved ones to have stood by and watched him attempt to fulfil his dreams. As the film goes on, it becomes more and more obvious that Armstrong started to lose himself in his dreams, overlooking the people in his life who mattered most, to the point where his relationships almost begin to crumble.
“The audience was able to see the more emotional sides of his story”
It was clear Chazelle’s interpretation of Armstrong’s life focused on the suffering and sacrifices he encountered both before, and throughout his mission. The audience were able to see the more emotional side of his story, with particular attention placed on Armstrong’s first wife, Janet, played by SAG award winning The Crown actress, Claire Foy, who gave the audience a compelling performance of a woman affected by her husband’s struggle to balance his focus on both his family, and his ambitions.
“The film was the perfect way of showing the story behind one man’s legend, in a less spectacular way than society has been lead to believe”
Watching Armstrong lose his family and friends along the way caused the audience to sympathise greatly, and we were left feeling equally enchanted (due to the strength of the actors performances) yet mournful for everything else that happened behind the scenes. The film was the perfect way of showing the story behind one man’s legend, in a less spectacular way than society has been lead to believe, with darkness and heartbreak beneath its surface.
“a mesmerising and emotional performance”
Gosling and Foy managed to play these characters beautifully, and their ability to show the growing instability of the couple’s marriage left for a mesmerising and emotional performance. Gosling excelled himself as an actor in his portrayal of a man who’s icon has been further memorialised in this stunning cinematic story.
Featured Image courtesy of Universal Pictures and Dreamworks via IMDb.