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FIRST MAN (Movie Review)

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

So Neil Armstrong said when he first set foot on the moon—perhaps one of the most famous quotes in American history.

But as immortal as those words might've been, they sold the step short. That one small step came after eight long years of steps and more steps, missteps and disastrous falls. People sacrificed a great deal for Armstrong to take that step—including their very lives. Eight years of trial and tragedy, of life and breath, of math and science and just plain guts, went into that step. And when Armstrong took it, he carried the work of thousands of people, and the hopes and dreams of millions more, on his back.

The honor of being the first man on the moon wasn't something Neil sought: He was a quiet man, as humble and as retiring as a national hero can possibly be, and America loved him for it.

He sacrificed a lot to be there, too. But inside the Armstrong home, Neil's dedication sometimes took on a darker hue. To his wife, Janet, sometimes it was hard to see whether Neil was trying to get to the moon … or away from home. Escape the responsibilities of being a husband, a father to their two sons, Rick and Mark, or to run away from the crushing grief he felt over the death of his daughter, Karen.

She wasn't even three years old.

"One small step," Neil said. But his own journey to the moon was filled with a million steps, skips and stumbles. Sometimes, he seemed to crawl. But eventually, those steps took him the 239,000 miles to the moon and back again. And through so many of those steps—too many, perhaps—he preferred to walk alone.

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