First Man premiered at the Venice Film Festival this week and has been getting rave reviews from nearly everybody who saw it. Ryan Gosling stars in the film and it reportedly received a three-minute ovation at the conclusion of the screening. However, there has since been controversy surrounding the film after it was revealed that director Damien Chazelle chose not to include the iconic image of Neil Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon, with some people on social media claiming that it's creating a false narrative of American history.
Before anyone gets too emotional about the lack of an American flag in First Man, the flag is actually shown waving in the lunar wind on more than one occasion in the movie. Ryan Gosling attempted to clarify the reasoning for the conscious omission on the red carpet before the premiere. The actor revealed that the choice was made to commit to Neil Armstrong's subjectivity. Gosling had this to say.
"I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement (and) that's how we chose to view it. I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible... He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg - and that's not just to be humble, that's also true. So, I don't think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil."
Now, many people who have not even seen First Man are angry with the film for leaving out Neil Armstrong's planting of the American flag. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio says that the decision is "total lunacy." The senator stated that now is a time that Americans should be coming together during this time and seeing what can happen when people work together. He closed his post by stating that it "wasn't a UN mission."
Other critics of First Man have stated that the Neil Armstrong's planting of the American flag on the surface of the moon was a "banner of freedom and peace." Daily Wire editor in chief Ben Shapiro says the purpose of Armstrong's mission was to plant the flag beyond anything else, "It wasn't an afterthought. It was the point of the endeavor." Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol declared that it's a "foolish and pernicious falsification of history."
While the American flag may not be the focus in First Man, it is represented many times throughout the movie, according to sources that were present at the premiere. Ryan Gosling's comments on the conscious decision to leave out the planting of the flag have also been criticized by Conservatives. First Man hits theaters on October 12th, so you can see the flag for yourself then. For now, you can read some of the backlash surrounding the movie below, thanks to Marco Rubio's Twitter account.