The film First Man is a story about the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Unfortunately, it is also a movie that is gaining attention for all the wrong reasons. More especially it is gaining attention for what the film has chosen not to show than what it will. Last week, The Telegraph reported that the American flag would not be shown in the film and that the iconic flag planting would be omitted.
Lead actor Ryan Gosling poured gasoline on the fire when he said that the American moon landing “transcended countries and borders,” and that instead of being an American achievement, it was a “human achievement.” Gosling even went as far as to say that Armstrong didn’t view himself as an American Hero.
This did not go over very well.
Stating that the Moon landing was not an ‘American achievement’ throws away so much context of what the moon landing was actually about, one could claim the film was trying to rewrite history in that regard. Now rewriting history is not a new concept to the left or Hollywood when it comes to American History, the problem is that there are still plenty of people who do remember the moon landing and the situation surrounding it, those people aren’t so easily fooled such as Legendary astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin who has been very outspoken on social media regarding the issue.
Now Damien Chazelle who is the director of the film and also directed the movie La La Land with Gosling give his defense on his decision. “In First Man, I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but the flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon,” Chazelle said.
“To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon–particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours,”
Actor Jason Clarke who is also in the film chimed in on the controversy by saying he believes it is nonsense as the film itself can be interpreted as patriotic. As of this writing, Universal has sunk 70 million into the production of First Man which means they are definitely expecting a solid box office run to recoup their money but the question this studio has to answer now, has this story already soured moviegoers on the idea of seeing the film just a month before it’s release? Only time will tell. First Man is slated for wide release October 12th.