Sat down with my boyfriend, I put on a space documentary, the first I had watched in a while. A little background about me; my space knowledge is next to nothing, and my boyfriend’s more than average. I was looking forward to learning at least a little bit more about the first man on the moon, so when it came to talking about it with him I could give more than the occasional ‘hmm’ and ‘ahh yes’.
Armstrong, directed by David Fairhead, was released after fifty years of speculation and conspiracy theories, however revealed no new knowledge about the moon landing. Instead, it focused on the personal life of the American, “who took one small step for man, but one giant leap for mankind,” Neil Armstrong.
Covering the time span of his life, from the very early days spent in his childhood home to his death in 2012, the hour and 40-minute documentary takes you on a journey of his life, verbally and visually.
Narrated by Harrison Ford, it features all those closest to him. His ex-wife, sons and friends all offer a very personal account of his life. What is remarkable about this documentary is that within this short film you learn more about Armstrong than he allowed the media to learn the entire time he was in the spotlight.
The most surprising fact I learnt from this documentary is how emotional it made me towards a man I knew nothing about two hours prior. The personal touches are what really sets it apart, with clips from his family home growing up, recordings from flights and missions and footage from the control rooms. This authentic research is what helped make the telling of one man’s story into an emotional and patriotic film.
However, if you are watching this to finally settle the conspiracy theories after half a decade, you will be disappointed. I am much more interested in the person that flew to the moon and the coincidental chain of events that led to him being in that rocket rather than the scientific details. In turn, I enjoyed this, but still know little about how exactly he made it to the moon.
Far from a space fanatic, I was affected by the personal touches of this film. It was well edited, easy to follow and researched enough to be both informative and emotional provocative. Although, as mentioned before, there were no shocking revelations that settled any debates over the event. That said, it’s clear that Fairfield has not set out to accomplish this, it focused more on Armstrong as a regular American man despite being (literally) out of this world.