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First Man

Damien Chazelle

Please note: First Man contains a sequence of flashing lights which might affect customers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.

The bar was set high for First Man, Damien Chazelle’s first film since the huge success of La La Land. But reuniting again with Ryan Gosling, Chazelle is definitely still on his winning streak – this is an exquisite, beautifully made, thoughtful film about Neil Armstrong’s personal journey to the moon and back.

“…thoughtful and at times, genuinely awe-inspiring.”

From its opening scenes, First Man puts us straight into the cockpit with Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his fellow test pilots as they break record after record, hurtling beyond the stratosphere in shaky metal prototypes that can barely take the strain. The risks they take bond this group of men together in a strong but cautious camaraderie. The cool logic which keeps him alive at work puts pressure on Armstrong’s relationship with his wife, Janet (The Queen’s Claire Foy) and sons. His tough exterior hides the pain of a man who still suffers greatly over the death from cancer of his two-year-old daughter, Karen. When Armstrong is called on with Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) and Mike Collins (Lukas Haas) to join NASA's Apollo 11 mission to the moon, he must set aside all his doubts to prepare for the biggest moment of his career and his life.

What might seem on paper like the story of a great reluctant American hero is transformed, in the hands of a great team – Chazelle, screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight), production designer Nathan Crowley, cinematographer Linus Sandgren and composer Justin Hurwitz – into something much more thoughtful and at times, genuinely awe-inspiring.