First Man ★★★★½

Geez, this was just a little better than I remembered. I’m rather notorious for taking a substantial period to warm up to a film, and usually appreciate a given movie much more on a rewatch. This was most definitely the case here.

While my original rating may not have aged well, my initial review is still fairly accurate. My main reservations then lay primarily in First Man’s portrayal of grief; I found Gosling’s stoic mourning to be alienating and unsympathetic, and Foy’s fractured fretting a bit off-putting. I’m not really sure what changed, except that none of that bothered me in the slightest this time around. The writing and acting felt searingly genuine and heartbreaking to witness, not to mention Chazelle’s flawless direction in taking fairly standard biopic fare and elevating it to a realm of astronomical excellence. And of course, words fail to describe the emotional perfection of the last fifteen minutes. From the first flight to the last shot, I knew I had committed a grave injustice against First Man. I was silly to ever consider this film as anything less than one of the best motion picture triumphs of 2018.

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