Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Just Vote Already!

This is not a post about a political point of view.

This is not meant to divide the Conservative or the Liberal.

This is not about Republicans or Democrats.

This is a post about social action and civic responsibility.

Do you vote?

And if the answer to that question is no, then why the hell not?

Are you too busy? Too tired? Too angry? Too apathetic?

Do you live too far away from your poll? Are you physically unable? 

Seriously? What is your excuse?

In the last Ontario election, only 58% of eligible voters cast their ballots. This is the election that gave us Doug Ford. In the last presidential election, more than 100,000,000 eligible voters didn't vote. This is the Trump election. The numbers astound me.

Older citizens vote. They vote in huge numbers. Young people...well they stay home and let their grandparents' votes govern the communities in which they live and the issues they live by.

University students. I am speaking to you, now. Would you let your grandparents pick your clothes? Your music? Your partner?

No? 

So why are you allowing them to make decisions on the issues you say are the most important to you?

The environment. A woman's right to govern her own sexual agency. Gun control. Equal pay. Worker's rights. Net neutrality. Healthcare. 

This should terrify you all. (Start at about the two-minute mark.)



Parents, I'm talking to you now. Have you talked to your children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, or unprotected sex? Have you lectured them about driving while under the influence? Have you taught them to have respect for others and to treat people the way they themselves would expect to be treated? Have you raised them to make informed choices?

Have you ever discussed with them the power and importance of voting? Have you taken them with you to the polls? Have you modeled voting behaviour by voting yourselves?

No?

I am constantly amazed at the number of people I know personally who don't believe that voting is a collective responsibility. It isn't merely that voting determines how we live our lives in our communities and how we protect the most vulnerable among us but that it sets the course to what kind of world we want to live in and what we will leave to the next generations. Are we willing to accept government by an invigorated minority or would we rather be on the right side of history?

Toronto residents, there is no doubt that our upcoming election is a mess. We still don't know who all the candidates in our ridings are, let alone where our polling places are located. There have been no voters cards mailed out because of the turmoil. But that is not an excuse to stay home on October 22nd or to not vote in the advance polls. Check out https://myvote.toronto.ca/home or https://www.thestar.com/toronto-election.html for all the information you need to vote with intention. You do *not* have to be registered to vote like in the U.S. to cast a ballot in the city election. All you need is to be eligible to vote and have ID with your address. Also from the city:

In addition, did you know that you can vote by proxy in Toronto? Here's how. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/elections/voter-information/appoint-a-proxy-voter/

American friends, I have heard from many in the know that this November's midterms are possibly the most important since the Civil War. That is a stunning indictment on everything you all have been living through for the past two years. The world is watching. Get out and vote and then drive ten more friends and neighbours to the polls. Pick people up. Ensure your college kids are registered and that they are hounded and nagged by you until they cast their ballots. Go to seniors residences and take them to vote. Set up carpools through your church and synagogue groups. Stand in line and know your rights and what identification you need. Plan it and do it no matter what.

It isn't hyperbole to say that people have died to protect our right to vote in a democracy. We can argue about the candidates and we can argue about the platforms but we should NEVER use any excuse to keep us from exercising our franchise.


via GIPHY






Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Love to My Father On His Big Birthday.

Today is my dad's 80th birthday.

80.

It seems like such a monumental age, almost as if it crosses some sort of an unspoken threshold. And in truth, Dad didn't want to celebrate all that much this year. He was uncharacteristically ambivalent about this birthday. He was emphatic about a moratorium on gifts and instead he wanted a far more muted commemoration than we might have done, one with just immediate family and some close friends. So, we honoured those wishes and had a lovely gathering last Shabbat but I couldn't let the day go by without some sort of observance as to the man my dad is.

Without further adieu, I present some fun facts about Ralph.

1. He was born on the second day of Rosh Hashana. Whenever someone would ask his mother about his birthday, that would be her answer. I'm convinced she never really remembered the English date until she looked at that Jewish calendar that came from the butcher.

2. His older brother, and sole sibling, Syd (z"l) was a full 7 years his senior. I'm convinced that my dad was a surprise baby to his "already-very-mature-for-those-days" parents but I was never able to get a straight answer from my grandmother, whose old-world sensibilities refused to discuss such things.

3. He was, unsurprisingly, ADHD as a child. It was a time when schools and parents didn't know about such things but because he was, and still is, such a gite neshema (a good soul) he managed to get through school with decent grades. His gregarious nature has always bought him goodwill but it isn't an act. Ralph simply has no capacity for hiding anything. He wears it all right out there for everybody to see. What you see, is what you get.

4. He speaks Yiddish fluently due to it being his parents' first language and some early schooling through the Arbiter Ring, The Workman's Circle.

5. Yup. My dad's first political indoctrination was through the very leftist and socialist (almost communist) Workman's Circle. It explains a lot about his visceral need for and fights for social justice but does nothing to explain his bizarre later in life vote for...

6. Rob Ford. Yes, he regretted it and yes he is very apologetic for it. (And yes...this is my way of needling him for a very out of character stupid act.)

7. Dad used to have very curly and very thick jet-black hair. Honest. There are photos.

8. He has a wicked temper. It is, unfortunately, something he felt the need to pass down to me. Those closest to him know it and have been in the direct firing line. He hates it about himself and is instantly sorry each and every time he blows a gasket but it can be painful. I choose to share this because Dad is fond of saying that nobody is perfect and that we all have something we'd rather not possess. His self-awareness about his foibles and flaws and his attempts over the years to deal with them is one of the things I admire most about my father. I truly believe that if I gushed too much about him in this post, he might taunt me about rewriting his biography.

9. He spent one year studying to be a pharmacist. He absolutely hated it and couldn't imagine counting pills behind a counter as a career. He left after that year in Windsor to go into a different side of the drug business...pushing...I mean...sales.

10. He used to work as a singer/waiter at Waposka Lodge in the summers. I still, to this day, cannot believe he waited tables. This is a man who can't drink a glass of water without spilling on himself. He still wears a bib that he carries with him wherever he goes. I can't imagine he did well by his patrons but his singing talent more than made up for his lack of tips.

11. Dad sang and Dad still sings. He has the most amazing baritone I have ever heard. He will say that it is old and gone but...nope, not true. He sings in the shower and in the car and at shul and when he thinks nobody is looking. He used to sing in a calypso band and was even cajoled into singing at his own wedding. He introduced me to every folk artist from 1940 on and still loves to go to small concerts and venues to take in an evening of whatever is playing. We would sing on family car trips and we would sing just for ourselves at home. I cannot stress enough how beautiful my father's voice is. One of these days, I hope to convince him to sing a duet with me at out Temple Coffee House. Maybe this post will provide the impetus.

12. Dad met Mom on a blind date....and then promptly didn't call her again for a year. A year!! There are a whole host of excuses he uses for that horrendous lapse in judgment but it was mostly because he was dating somebody else. When that ended, he decided to call her and....she couldn't remember who he was. Love at first sight, this was not. But something must have clicked because here we are almost 57 years later and he is still crazy about her. He will often quietly whisper to me, "Isn't your mother just beautiful." 

13. Judaism matters a lot to my dad and it pains him to this day that he never had a Bar Mitzvah due to that Jewish socialist upbringing. I've tried to convince him to do it as an adult over the years but I am still working on it. Dad was the creator of the very first Camp Scholarship Fund at Temple Har Zion and he went out and called every single member at the time to solicit the necessary funds to send kids to GUCI. He and Mom are regulars at Kol Ami when they are in town and often go to various synagogues in the South Florida area. I know that he wishes I was still on the bimah. He loved to brag about me to his friends, especially after High Holy Days. He tells me this a lot but he is just fine singing in the congregation with whoever is leading.

14. Dad is the most demonstrative man I know of his generation. He hugs and kisses everybody, men and women alike. He quite simply loves people and he feeds off of their energy. He wears his emotions like a badge of honour and has cried publicly on both happy and sad occasions. He just cannot pretend. It is what I love most about him.

15. Dad has had a variety of sales jobs throughout his career but the one constant has always been how good he was at it. It's that people-person thing again. He loves to talk and understand what people need and want, and he refuses to sell them anything more than what they absolutely require. He is unfailingly honest with his clients because he simply doesn't have the capacity for lying and mistruths. He can't keep a secret for shit and he will readily admit that lying takes far too much energy, so honesty is and has always been his credo.

16. Dad likes to be the peacemaker. He believes that family is paramount and those family members should never quarrel. I think it comes from the fact that so many members of his own family were lost in Europe. On more than one occasion, and not always with success, Dad has tried to mediate extended-family member squabbles. The hurt he has experienced when it hasn't come together has been palpable but he feels the need to try.

17. My father is the most absent-minded human being on the face of the planet. He has left his purse (yup. My dad has been carrying a man-purse for 50 years.) in more locations around the world than I could enumerate here. He forgets jackets on airplanes; credit cards in restaurants;  coffee mugs and briefcases on the roof of cars; hats, scarves, and gloves, in people's homes; and once he even left all of his suits in a motel room. He cannot walk and chew gum at the same time for fear he will swallow his gum. He has so much going on in his brain that he cannot remember the small stuff. I have often joked with him that I want to climb inside his mind and take a walk around to figure him out. He quips back that it would require a better woman than am I.

18. His absent-mindedness leads to his shitty driving. There. I said it. My father is a shitty driver mostly because his mind is usually elsewhere. He can park a fricking 18-wheeler into a spot the size of a postage stamp but his driving....well that is a whole other story. He once...and I am not making this up...drove onto the off-ramp of the 401. That was the day in my childhood when I thought I was going to die. Uber was created with my father in mind. I hope he uses it more often.

19. Dad never met a phone he didn't like or wear out. Until this year he still had two landlines and his cell both here and in Florida. He calls everybody all the time. He calls for happy occasions and awful ones. He calls to do business and will often wear out conglomerates (usually insurance companies or telecoms) that have cheated people. He will not take a single dime for his efforts and will often tell folks that he knows their games and refuses to be bullied by these corporations. He will often spend hours on the phone with insurers getting the best rates for his friends and families and then...he returns the commissions to the individuals. Lest you think this is a new thing born out of age, he has been doing this throughout his entire career.

20. Dad is loud and fun. He always wants to be with people and to be doing things. He loves to eat, often more than he should, but he considers much of it social. He and Mom have flown or driven in for out-of-town simchas because "celebrating is better than mourning". He loves to travel because "the world is a big place with so many things to see and people to meet." He never forgets a face, even ones he hasn't seen in 60+ years and he never forgets a name. He always leads with a handshake or a hug and has no qualms about reintroducing himself to people who may have forgotten him. Some individuals collect cars or coins, my father collects people.

I thought of doing a "top 80" of Dad but I realized that people had to read this and the length was already a bit much. The thing is, finding 80 things to share about my dad would have been so easy. He is just one of the best people I know and even though there are times when Ralph can be, in the words of Older Son, "So much more Zaidy than usual", I love everything about him. He is who he is and has never pretended to be more or less.

To the moon and back Dad. I love you bunches today and every day. Happy fourscore. Biz a hoondred oon Tzvuntzig yur. 💜💜💜 (May you live until 120 years!)

Monday, 17 September 2018

Where There is No Shame, There is No Honour.

We Jews are entering into Yom Kippur this week and attempting to do teshuva (repentance) for all of the wrongs we have done during this past year. It is a core value of Judaism that in order to make ourselves whole again and move forward as better people, we must first own up to all of the sins we have committed and ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt. This passage is from the V'duii (the confession of sin) in our Machzor.  (High Holy Day prayer book.)
"For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones: but for transgressions of one human being against another, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another"

It is a system that allows people to fully confront their flaws and admit wrongdoing. It isn't perfect and it demands fortitude and strength from the individual. Apologizing isn't easy. It comes with the acknowledgment that we are imperfect beings and that we feel shame.

And therein lies the fatal flaw to the troubles of our time. We assume that people feel shame, that there is an inherent moral compass that guides our leaders so that they won't breach established norms to fuel their own vendettas, wealth, or egos. We have created institutions like parliament, election laws, the courts, and houses of government based on the premise that shame will stop a rogue leader from venturing too far outside of the norms of society. Rabbi Berel Wein wrote:
“As long as shame existed, the possibility for repentance and self-improvement also existed. Therefore the prophets of Israel exhorted the leaders and people to at least ‘be ashamed of your behavior, O House of Israel!’ Only when the sense of shame disappears does hope wane for a change for the better.”
But what happens when a leader arises that feels no shame? What happens when self-interest is all that matters and the chattering classes that follow that leader understand that in order to serve their own ambitions they must dispense with shame? It is then that society realizes that the norms on which it has come to depend, cannot hold back the tide of populist authoritarianism. We need and expect our leaders to feel shame if their actions are obviously abhorrent. When that disappears, what is left?

And so we have a man who is credibly accused of multiple sexual assaults sitting in the White House and displays zero shame for any of them. We watch as he has shamelessly turned brother against brother and separated children from their parents. We have a leader here in Ontario who is upending traditional norms and changing the rules in the middle of an election campaign because of his personal anger and grudges. His caucus is shamelessly spouting lie after lie to feed his ego in order to gain favour with him. There is no sense of decency and no acknowledgment that anything is wrong with either the process or the law. Without an inherent awareness of shame, the entire system begins to crumble in on itself.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks makes a distinction between shame and guilt, noting that guilt is the more productive emotion of the two. I agree that there is some merit to this thesis but might argue that one fuels the other. Without shame, how does one feel guilty and then perhaps atone for one's transgressions?

Last night, as the Ontario Legislature held a ridiculous midnight session in order to push through a ridiculous law, I watched as one after another of the Premier's minions spouted shameful lies and misstatements about the functionality of Toronto City Council. I also watched as American senators, tasked with choosing the next Supreme Court Justice, one by one came forward to defend a man accused of a heinous act without even so much as a hearing granted to the accuser. Raucous debate in politics is and should be at the centre of every single decision made and elections certainly do have consequences, but we cannot and should NEVER allow our leaders to govern without shame. When that happens, we can point to the very end of civic and democratic engagement and that should scare us all, no matter where we sit on the political spectrum.

As we head into this week of Atonement, I would like to say that I am ashamed of anything that I might have done, either knowingly or unknowingly, that hurt, embarrassed, upset, dishonoured, or humiliated. I realize that I will need to make my misdeeds right and confront all to whom I have transgressed against.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah. May we all be inscribed for a good sealing.

Where there is no shame, there is no honour. ~Martin Opitz

Saturday, 15 September 2018

All TIFFed Out.

Editor's Note:

Dawn and The Husband will be spending the next few days attending the Toronto International Film Festival, known to the locals as TIFF. No longer rookies, they still have selected a modest number of films (5) because Rosh Hashanah is putting a crimp into their movie-viewing schedule this year. TIFF still serves as a tremendous distraction from the world's ills, the impending High Holidays, and asshole would-be dictators whose names rhyme with Dump and Thug. The next several posts will focus on TIFF and offer very quick bullet point reviews for the movies seen. 

Our quintet of films suddenly turned into a sextet on Wednesday when The Husband, in his infinite and prescient wisdom, bought us tickets for one last cinematic experience. When the list of TIFF films came out, Green Book was in my top five but when we went to purchase our tickets, this film went mysteriously missing from the lineup. I was unhappy but figured that it must have been pulled or delayed. Nope. There was simply a glitch in the TIFF site and so we chose five other movies and left Green Book as an anticipatory late autumn night at the theatre. When the powers that be at TIFF added an extra showing, The Husband pounced on the tickets and so we spent this final Shabbat of TIFF in the screening room at The Princess of Wales Theatre. 

I love Viggo Mortensen in almost everything (you all simply must see Captain Fantastic) and Mahershala Ali is a truly incredible actor. His performance in Moonlight had me in tears. The premise of Green Book, once again based on a true story, seemed like an old-fashioned buddy/road trip premise. Mortensen's "wise-guy" bouncer from the Bronx is hired to drive Ali's sophisticated and brilliant pianist through a series of gigs in the 1960's Jim Crow south. The green book is a reference to an actual publication that was distributed to African-Americans who were travelling through segregated areas in order to inform them of the "suitable" hotels and restaurants. Who knew? 

The film is funny, a little sad, anger-inducing at times, and sometimes a wee bit predictable but I loved every single minute of it. The two leads (and they are both leads. I will be infuriated if come awards season the studio tries to shove Ali into the supporting category) have tremendous chemistry and turn what could have been a formulaic flick into something special. Director Peter Farrelly (of dumbass movie fame) handles the subject matter sensitively and with a smart comedic eye. He shares a screenwriting credit with the son of the actual guy played by Mortensen. 

Green Book is a crowd pleaser and I will not be shocked if it wins the People's Prize here at TIFF. It may not be high art but it was a helluva great afternoon at the movies. Dawn and The Husband's recommendation: Two enthusiastic YUPS!!!

Friday, 14 September 2018

A TIFF Double-Header

Editor's Note:

Dawn and The Husband will be spending the next few days attending the Toronto International Film Festival, known to the locals as TIFF. No longer rookies, they still have selected a modest number of films (5) because Rosh Hashanah is putting a crimp into their movie-viewing schedule this year. TIFF still serves as a tremendous distraction from the world's ills, the impending High Holidays, and asshole would-be dictators whose names rhyme with Dump and Thug. The next several posts will focus on TIFF and offer very quick bullet point reviews for the movies seen. 

It was double feature Friday for us today at TIFF. I am just young enough that I don't really remember double features at the movies. For me, a double feature consists of watching the retirees down in The Southern Home surreptitiously scoot from theatre to theatre at the multiplex in order to avoid coughing up the extra ticket fee. But due to our compressed schedule this year, the double-header was unavoidable.

Our first film of the day was The Front Runner. Directed by Jason Reitman and starring Hugh Jackman, it tells the story of former United States senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart and his dramatic fall from grace during the1988 election campaign. If one is old enough to recall the entire "scandal", the movie doesn't really offer a whole lot more meat to the story. If one is too young to recall the incident that drove Senator Hart from the race, the movie isn't much more than a chronological three-week timeline. To be very honest, the whole film isn't much of anything. While the acting is good and the theme of the press holding politicos accountable fairly timely, the movie doesn't really add much to the narrative of Gary Hart and Donna Rice. There are some nice moments when our 2018 sensibilities are massaged as we ponder what the women at the centre of these messy political scandals must go through, but the movie fails to answer any of the lingering questions that people might still have. I honestly couldn't come up with a single reason to rehash this mess of a campaign other than the fact that it looks tame by today's standards. Morality has certainly taken on a different bent in the age of Trump.

The Front Runner is an incredibly average movie that might be better received if one was viewing at home on TV or on Netflix. While the acting is first-rate, the rest is fairly middling. Dawn and The Husband's recommendation: Two shoulder shrugs.

Our second film today was far more enjoyable. The Old Man & The Gun is flat out charming and fun. Robert Redford has already announced that this will be his final acting role and the entire movie feels like an homage to his stellar career. Redford plays an old crook who lives his life on the run and charms his way through a series of bank robberies. The supporting cast of Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, and Elisabeth Moss feel like they are only in this film because they wanted to be with Redford. He is brilliant and fun and still incredibly sexy at a youngish 82. He is an almost certainty to cop an Oscar nomination for his work here. (It is really incredible that he has never won an acting award.) There were moments in this film when we are treated to snippets of young Redford either through old photos or movie stills and it really does feel like we are honouring a prince of old Hollywood. It is a short film at just over ninety minutes but it doesn't need one extra minute.

The Old Man & The Gun is a good old-fashioned caper movie elevated to a higher plateau simply because of the magnificent work of Robert Redford. Dawn and The Husband's recommendation: Two enthusiastic Yups!

***Even though I said that we were scheduled for five films, we bought tickets for one more. Tomorrow is our final screening. Watch this space.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Today at TIFF-Judi is Joan

Editor's Note:

Dawn and The Husband will be spending the next few days attending the Toronto International Film Festival, known to the locals as TIFF. No longer rookies, they still have selected a modest number of films (5) because Rosh Hashanah is putting a crimp into their movie-viewing schedule this year. TIFF still serves as a tremendous distraction from the world's ills, the impending High Holidays, and asshole would-be dictators whose names rhyme with Dump and Thug. The next several posts will focus on TIFF and offer very quick bullet point reviews for the movies seen. 

Dawn's basic rules for optimum movie enjoyment. 

1. Cast one of Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, or Helen Mirren, or any combination of the aforementioned. 
2. Place the actress or actresses in a situation that requires zero special effects, with a primarily British cast in a primarily British location, and requires them to act the shit out of said situation.
3. Don't clutter the film with crazy sound effects or jerky camera movements and allow the dialogue to carry the action.
4. Stand back and enjoy.

Director Sir Trevor Nunn did all of the above to great success with his new film Red Joan which we were privileged enough to screen at its world premiere this evening at TIFF. Based on the true story of former KGB "Granny Spy" Melita Norwood, Red Joan tells the story of how a woman of great intellect and imagination could be so overlooked and patronized in both the eras in which her story is told. Dame Judi plays the soft-spoken retiree all too briefly but with typical grace and perfection. The idea that this woman could possibly be who they accuse her of is totally unbelievable to everyone associated with her, including her own son. But the film really takes off when Sophie Cookson takes on the daunting task of playing the young Judi and shows how easy it was for a brilliant woman to hide in plain sight simply because she was a woman.

It is true that Trevor Nunn has a far more illustrious resume on the stage than on screen (Google him to discover his incredible credits) but that didn't deter him at all from making a very enjoyable and unusually female-centric film. In the Q and A that followed the screening, he was at his loquacious best as he tried to firmly impart his ideas that this film was all about underestimating women simply because they were women. And while Dame Judi didn't make the trip to Toronto, he made it clear that she was the only actress he wanted for the role of Joan.

The critics will probably find fault in the film for being far too simplistic and perhaps a bit dreary but we simply loved it. The acting was first-rate and the story was terrific. Not every movie has to be a masterpiece to be enjoyable. The Husband said that of all of the films we chose, this was the one that he was most concerned about. He needn't have worried. Dawn and The Husband's recommendation for this film: Two big Yups.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

TIFFing in Space

Editor's Note:

Dawn and The Husband will be spending the next few days attending the Toronto International Film Festival, known to the locals as TIFF. No longer rookies, they still have selected a modest number of films (5) because Rosh Hashanah is putting a crimp into their movie-viewing schedule this year. TIFF still serves as a tremendous distraction from the world's ills, the impending High Holidays, and asshole would-be dictators whose names rhyme with Dump and Thug. The next several posts will focus on TIFF and offer very quick bullet point reviews for the movies seen. 

I admit, I just love this festival. I am still such a neophyte in so many ways and we still only have time this year for five films (I wish it were more) but there is something invigorating about seeing movies in the dark on the widescreen with an intelligent audience. There is no rustling of food containers, no cell phones ringing, almost no talking, (I'm excluding the rude industry assholes chatting amongst themselves) and few, if any, people leaving for reasons unknown. Even if the movie is a singular piece of shit, most of the crowd sits in their seats until the credits roll. Unless of course, you happen to attend a morning screening where the audience is filled to capacity with retired teachers (yup!) and most of them suffer from a middle-aged bladder. Such was our lot at this morning's screening of the new Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) movie First Man.


Technically a biopic about cosmic explorer Neil Armstrong and his journey to the moon, First Man is really more of a character study and interpersonal coming of age about the first human to set foot on a different celestial body. It is actually quite amazing and a feat of real talent that Chazelle is able to create a sense of drama and wonder about a story every schoolchild knows the ending to. Unlike its many space story predecessors, First Man reminds of the inherent dangers of space travel and the fear and trauma that so many at NASA faced then and still do today. We who have lived in a time when space travel has always existed and become commonplace, tend to forget that these men, and by extension their families, were true explorers. The scene when Armstrong is actually setting his foot down on the lunar surface is so tortured and drawn out so as to remind all that nobody knew what to expect up there. There are several prolonged scenes inside aircraft, capsules, and lunar modules that were filmed with handheld cameras at eye level and jerk viciously enough to cause this theatre patron massive bouts of motion sickness. Listening to the creak of the ancient metal capsules or seeing the "balsa wood toys that these men played with" drives the dangers faced by Armstrong and his colleagues directly home to the audience. The film is a master-class in sound editing, film editing, and music scoring and all of that is directly attributable to its director.


The cast is pretty fantastic as well. Ryan Gosling impeccably captures Armstrong's well-earned sense of tortured focus and Claire Foy is definite Oscar bait as his suffering wife, Janet. Their relationship, which withstood much, was one of mutual respect but also with a prescient understanding that their marriage wouldn't last the long haul post-NASA. Gosling gives real depth to this quiet and sometimes tortured man and seems intent on portraying him as a man who just did his job. Gosling plays Armstrong with such an even keel that when his emotions do finally break through, it is such a relief for the audience. 


I was 6 1/2 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. I have distinct memories of my parents waking my brother and me up so that we could witness world history in real time. I remember the parades and the Life magazine covers and my parents keeping the newspapers from those days. Rarely, does the world unite together for such a singular experience. I can't imagine what it must have been like for Neil Armstrong and his family before, during, or after that event but First Man certainly does try to put it into perspective. Dawn and The Husband's recommendation for this film: Two enthusiastic Yups!



The director and cast of First Man