75th Venice Film Festival First Man Movie Review
Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy star in director Damien Chazelle’s biopic, ‘First Man.’

Title: First Man

Director: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Ciaran Hinds, Christopher Abbott, Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas.

Damien Chazelle returns to the silver screen — after the six-time Academy Award-winning ‘La La Land’ – with a powerful existential journey about the man who made “One Small Step For A Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind”: Neil Armstrong.

Ryan Gosling portrays the quiet astronaut, whose moon landing expedition intertwines with the silent grieving for the loss of his daughter. The difficulty of this kind of storytelling was to fall either into pitiableness or heroism. But ‘First Man’ finds the perfect pitch to show the man behind the icon, tributing his good soul as much as his professionalism.  As Gosling explained “He was a famously introspective, quiet, humble person and the challenge was to honor that and open a window to emotional interpretations.” The entire cast (Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Ciaran Hinds, Christopher Abbott, Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas) carried out this delicate task, presenting to the world the Armstrong family and their colleagues and friends with pathos and truthfulness.

Damien Chazelle makes a period piece that — through the exquisite cinematography of Linus Sandgren and Josh Singer’s poignant script — portrays the sixties with poetic veracity. Contrarily to Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ or Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity,’ that glorify the infinity of space, Chazelle perfectly depicts the claustrophobia of an astronaut’s life. “The decision came from seeing the spacecrafts as a kid at the Smithsonian,” he said and explained how this could be a new facet to “show how in space you rely much more on other senses than mere sight. 

‘First Man’ allows spectators to be inside the “flying tin-cans” that made history in 1969, feeling the constriction and discomfort of the space sailors, lulled by the sublime music score of Justin Hurwitz.

Technical: A+

Acting: A-

Story: B+

Overall: A-

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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Director Damien Chazelle's biopic, 'First Man'
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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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