I just got back from watching First Man in IMAX. It was really good. I, personally, would nominate Claire Foy for an Oscar, if it were up to me. Ryan Gosling does a difficult job well. He played a guy who acted like he didn’t give a shit most of the time, so I don’t think he’ll be in the Oscars conversation, but it couldn’t have been easy. “Neil, 11 is going to be the landing, and we’ve all talked it over and we want you to command.” ” … Okay.”

The controversy about the film not showing the moment Neil plants the American flag is even more ridiculous now that I (unlike most of the flag-planting critics) have seen the movie. First of all, yes! You do actually see the American flag, right there by the lunar module! Huh! Second of all, we’ve spent like two hours and ten minutes on the story of Neil Armstrong, and planting the stupid flag had nothing to do with the story of Neil Armstrong. You want the story of the first moon landing, I recommend the HBO limited series From the Earth to the Moon. Gives you absolutely everything you could ever want. Except Apollo 13. It didn’t do justice to Apollo 13 because producer Tom Hanks wanted you to go see his Apollo 13 movie. But anyway.

The movie paints a wonderfully realistic picture of crewed spaceflight in the 1960s. Everything rattling like it was going to come apart, because it probably should have. No soaring to great heights and sailing the black sea like captains striking out to find new shores. There’s vomiting, and blacking out, and cramped quarters, and people not liking one another (the search continues for a film or show with Buzz Aldrin as a character in it where Buzz isn’t an asshole, btw), and classroom lectures, and crashes, and death, and all that rattling.

Recommended as a character study of a complex man whose story wasn’t easy to tell, which does its time period and the great events its subject was involved in justice. Even without showing the planting of the stupid flag.

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