Movie: Apollo 10½: A Space Age


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

Released on Netflix on April 1, 2022, “Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood” is an animated film that follows a fourth grader (played by Milo Coy) growing up in Austin, Texas during the Space Race in the 1960s. Swept up in the delirious excitement, the main character imagines himself as being selected by the U.S. government for a top-secret space mission—a mission executed before the famous Apollo 11 flight. The film combines these fantasy elements with scenes of ordinary childhood as well, with the main character eating cereal, playing outside and displaying a sense of childlike wonder. 

Writer and director Richard Linklater has no time to mess around in this film. He grew up in the 1960s and is going to tell us about it. 

Linklater goes into excruciating detail about what kind of meals they used to eat, what kind of music they used to listen to and what kind of movies they used to watch; the film acts as a laundry list rather than a sensible narrative. These sorts of cultural details are perfectly acceptable in the background, but when the narrator listed off his favorite cereals directly to the audience, I was ready to pretend the 1960s never happened. 

Yet, I did not hate the film entirely. There is a “realness” to certain scenes in this film that make them enjoyable—if only for their relatability. My favorite scene was when the main character and his brother played baseball in the garage because of the rain, and they drafted baseball cards to form their respective teams. That is something I would do if I was not writing film reviews.

Watch this movie if you grew up in the 1960s or eat cereal. 

Rated 4/10