Ryan Gosling’s latest film just made its debut at the Venice Film Festival, and it already looks like it could be an early Oscar’s contender. Directed by La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle, the film tells the story of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.
First Man has been praised for its awe-inspiring portrayal of space travel, but also because it showcases the real human life that was at stake. As one critic put it, it’s the Saving Private Ryan of space movies.
First Man is set to release on October 12. Watch the trailer for it, then browse the critics’ reviews below.
The film captured the awe of space travel
Nicholas Barber, BBC.com
“And yet, as restrained as First Man is, this riveting, exhaustively researched and utterly believable film manages to shake you, take your breath away and even pull a few tears from your eyes.”
Owen Gleiberman , Variety
““First Man” bears the same relation to the space dramas that have come before it that “Saving Private Ryan” did to previous war films. The movie redefines what space travel is — the way it lives inside our imaginations — by capturing, for the first time, what the stakes really were.”
Michael Nordine, indieWire
“A powerful experience that will inspire renewed awe of what Armstrong and his ilk did. It may not be a giant leap for filmmaking, but it’s another small step for this filmmaker.”
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
“This sober, contemplative picture has emotional involvement, visceral tension, and yes, even suspense, in addition to stunning technical craft.”
Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph (UK)
“Wisely, Chazelle has opted to leave spectacle to the blockbusters and instead aims for awe – which is related, but different, and harder to pull off.”
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap
“When Armstrong climbs into Gemini 8 and it blasts off into the heavens, we’ve never felt this claustrophobia or listened to the creaking of the metal or felt the thrust of the rockets quite this way before in a movie”
And focused on an unseen side, personal side of Neil Armstrong
Kevin Maher, Times (UK)
“The film reconstitutes our taciturn hero as a man riven with grief after the death of his daughter…It’s a bold move and seems to inform Gosling’s every decision as an actor.”
Raphael Abraham, Financial Times
“They can put a man on the moon, it seems, but they can’t get him to express his feelings. This really is the emotional crux of First Man and the theme to which Chazelle and scriptwriter Josh Singer keep returning.”
David Lister, Independent (UK)
“This is a human story, remarkably well told.”
But not everyone was convinced
Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine
“This is a respectful movie, even a genuflecting one; there’s never a moment when Chazelle fails to let you know he’s doing important, valuable work. But that’s the problem: The movie feels too fussed-over for such a low-key hero.”
Adam Woodward, Little White Lies
“This is a confident but pretty bland technical exercise… The overall result is an authentic, visually impressive viewing experience that doesn’t quite land.”
Speaking of Ryan Gosling, the actor recently took centre stage in our The Drip series.