Story

First Man is the story of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his rise from being a test pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics to being the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong is recruited by NASA in 1962 and moves to Houston, Texas, with his wife Janet (Claire Foy) and son Mike (Connor Blodgett). Neil and Janet have recently lost their young daughter, Karen (Lucy Stafford), to cancer, and Neil has great difficulty coming to terms with her death. They soon have another son, Rick (Gavin Warren and Luke Winters).

Armstrong’s first spaceflight is as commander of Gemini 8, a two-man ship, which he flies with David Scott (Christopher Abbott). Their mission is to dock with an uncrewed vehicle, and all goes smoothly. But on returning, Gemini 8 develops a fault, which sends it out of control. Armstrong has to release the uncrewed vehicle to save Gemini 8. Although some people criticise his decision, his quick thinking recommends him for the command of Apollo 11 and the moon landing mission in 1969 with Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll).

Themes

Space travel; death of a child; separation from family

Violence

First Man has some violence. For example:

  • Neil squeezes a wine glass so hard that it shatters in his hand, and his hand bleeds profusely.
  • Neil has to bail out of a lunar landing research vehicle, which bursts into flames. He lands heavily in his parachute and is left with damage to his face.
  • Janet loses her temper with Neil because he doesn’t want to say goodbye to the boys when he leaves for his mission to the moon, knowing he might not return.

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

First Man shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Several main characters smoke.
  • Adults often drink socially at different places – at home, parties, conferences and so on.

Nudity and sexual activity

First Man has some sexual activity. For example, Neil and Janet kiss on one occasion.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in First Man:

  • Campbell’s soup
  • Budweiser and Busch beers.

Coarse language

First Man has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

First Man is a biographical drama about Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

First Man presents the harsh physical and emotional realities of being an astronaut, and it’s quite realistic and intense in several scenes. Therefore, this movie is more suited to older teenagers and adults, and we don’t recommend it for children under 13 years.

The main message from this movie is that pioneering achievements require determination, resolve and many sacrifices.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include bravery, selflessness, humility, hard work, patience and endurance.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about what it would mean to them if one of their parents had to leave them for the ‘greater good’.