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Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood | SXSW2022

Richard Linklater telegraphs an inspiring and heartfelt love letter to his family, state and country that’s pure nostalgia. Astro-naughting never looked cooler, and when you’re 10 1/2 in the most ideal time of America, it’s the coolest thing ever!

A young boy takes us on the trip of his lifetime when we journey alongside his boyhood detailing what “our past” meant to him. A brilliantly animated documentary that delivers a gripping dramatic experience. Its presentation allows it the freedom to go anywhere it wants. It has penchants of the Oscar nominated Flee with the stylings of The Wonder Years.

The world was smaller back then– a playground ready to be understood in the most imaginative ways. And we don’t all have to look alike or experience life the same to delight in it. Beyond the familiar iconography of Americana on display is the fantastic cast that draws us in and elevates it all. This Brady Bunch family and their quirks for “sticking together and making it through” was representative of the American dream pictured on the small screen.

An argument could be posed as to how effective this story could be to diverse audiences who didn’t have the privilege of leading a life like this. My counter argument would be: there’s more than enough appeal to see a bit of all our families identified in this contemporary American classic. 

While this family’s struggle may not look exactly like mine, it’s interesting to see how the varied ways our dads tried to save money, mom’s tried to keep it together, or how we got recruited by NASA to fly an all too small rocket ship to the moon, looks similar. That last part isn’t necessarily true, but that’s also not the point. Linklater’s time capsule animated family adventure flick is hope-filled, life-fueled, and everything we need in times like this. “This is not the greatest film in the world. This is just a tribute.”


By Kolby Mac

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