The new biopic, First Man, tells the story of Neil Armstrong's journey as the Commander of the Apollo 11's trip to the moon in 1969. In the film, Ryan Gosling portrays Neil; Claire Foy plays his wife, Janet; and a few young actors play their sons Rick and Mark, at various ages. While we'll never know what Neil would have had to say about Gosling's portrayal or the film, But Armstrong's sons believe that Neil Armstrong's family thinks First Man, nailed its portrayal of that historic trip to the moon.
Neil passed away in 2012 at 82, per CNN. Janet passed away quite recently, on June 21, 2018, per The Houston Chronicle. But while talking to Collider, the children who survive them gave First Man their stamp of approval. Mark recalled his reaction to seeing the movie for the first time, saying, "It’s an incredible feeling, and when it all comes together with the visceral effects, with the score… and of course the performances it’s really gratifying to see it come together in a way that’s familiar and true for us."
Houston, we have approval. Then again, it shouldn't come as too great a surprise that the legendary astronaut's family loves First Man, since they were involved as consultants.
Director Damien Chazelle was in contact with Neil's family throughout the film's production, in order to make the movie as accurate as possible. In an interview with NPR's Fresh Air, Chazelle revealed that he'd spoken to Janet before she passed, in addition to speaking with Mark and Rick. Mark told Variety that he appreciates that the family was included in the process. "I’m just really pleased that the filmmakers cared enough to do all of this in a way that’s authentic and frankly wanted to get me more involved," he said. "I really felt like the more that I put into the movie, the more I saw my input being well-received and incorporated into the film. It’s just a good feeling."
And not only did his family give their blessing, but Neil's fellow Apollo astronaut Al Worden told the Washington Post that Neil"“would probably like" the biopic. Worden also served as a consultant on First Man, and he commended Chazelle for making the movie as true-to-life as possible. "He went to great lengths to make it accurate,” Worden said. "There’s just no question about that. He did a superb job."
The Armstrong family's support of First Man was tested in late August when the movie was criticized by conservative pundits who'd learned that the movie doesn't show the American flag being planted on the moon. Rick, Mark, and author James R. Hansen who wrote the biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong released a joint statement to the Associated Press defending the film. "This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement ‘for all mankind,'" the statement read.
Knowing that Armstrong's friends and family approve of First Man makes the movie that's already generating Oscar buzz that much better.