A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Celebrates traditionally American values such as competition, pioneering spirit, courage, teamwork, hard work -- all of which came into play to win space race to moon. Shows how Armstrong's quiet strength, determination helped make Apollo 11 a successful mission. Perseverance, humility are themes.
Positive Role Models
Armstrong is a smart, courageous, determined engineer, pilot, and astronaut. He loves his wife and children but is also focused on NASA mission. The astronauts are supportive, encouraging, even though they're also competing for spots on the moon mission. Janet is a kind, patient, caring wife and mother.
Violence & Scariness
Several deaths due to mission/equipment failures -- most take place off camera. In one case, lead-up to the deaths is shown, with astronauts worrying, yelling for help as fire breaks out. Tense scenes in which astronauts in space have to overcome difficulties that could have life-threatening consequences. A child's death is implied; her small coffin is shown during a funeral.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple dances, embraces, kisses.
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Occasional strong language includes "holy s--t," "damn," "screw," "jackass," "hell," "Jesus Christ!," and one "f---ing."
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Products & Purchases
Budweiser, Busch beer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink beer at a couple of get-togethers/dinners. Several adults chain-smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that First Man is Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle's (La La Land) serious, fact-based movie about legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong. It's set during the tumultuous decade leading up to Armstrong's historic Apollo 11 moon mission. Ryan Gosling stars as Armstrong, the smart, brave, determined, extremely stoic engineer-pilot-astronaut who persevered to eventually become the first person to walk on the moon. Along the way, he and NASA must weather life-threatening situations including mission failures, dangerous test flights, and even the death of valued team members -- but this is more of an artful character study than an Apollo 13-style thriller. Expect social drinking, chain smoking, infrequent but memorable swearing (including "s--t," "damn," and one "f---ing"), and several tense, sad scenes of characters in peril. A child's death isn't shown, but the impact is clear. Claire Foy co-stars as Armstrong's wife, Janet, who has a larger role here than many "NASA wives" in similarly themed films. Some scenes were shot with a handheld camera in a way that can be jarring. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Gosling gives a fabulous performance as the thoughtful, intelligent space pioneer in this intimate, visceral, serious biopic. Chazelle's adaptation of James R. Hansen's First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong is an up close and personal exploration of Armstrong's life in the 1960s. The movie opens with a bumpy, hair-raising, dizzying test flight on the rocket-powered X-15 -- a scene that's contrasted with a heartbreaking sequence in which it's clear that Neil's little girl is sick. After her death, Neil can't allow anyone to see him break down, and that stoicism about loss continues throughout the years as he survives the death of fellow pilots and astronauts who weren't just colleagues but close friends. Gosling is a masterful actor: one who never overacts and seems to truly understand the art of subtlety. It helps that Armstrong isn't an alpha male space cowboy or an ambitious extrovert like Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll); he's humble, hardworking, and at times emotionally distant.
Although the movie offers plenty of nerve-wracking moments and beautiful cinematography (especially in the space/rocket scenes), this character study isn't as similar to Apolllo 13, Gravity, or The Right Stuff as moviegoers might expect. Chazelle keeps the film focused on the two Armstrongs, without trying to capture every major event or figure involved in the space race. Unlike many other fact-based movies about that time, which only superficially include the astronauts' wives, Chazelle gives Foy's Janet lots of screen time as the wife left behind to keep house, tamp down her nerves, and hope that her husband doesn't end up as another NASA casualty. Thanks to Josh Singer's deft script, Linus Sandgren's memorable cinematography, and Gosling and Foy's excellent performances -- buoyed by an excellent supporting cast -- First Man proves that Armstrong is a uniquely humble legend and that Chazelle is one of the most versatile filmmakers in Hollywood.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.