Review, ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Childhood’: Memories of ’69
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After his experience in the documentary series with ‘That Animal Rescue Show’, Richard Linklater offers one of his roundest works since ‘Boyhood (Moments of a Life)’ with ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Childhood’his third animated feature film after ‘Waking Life’ and ‘A Scanner Darkly’, a commitment to look back on the line of recent proposals such as Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast’ or Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘It was the hand of God’although with a fanciful point that makes it stand out from another perspective.
Linklater’s commitment to animation enhances a story that could have been shot in real life. However, the style of the film, which emulates the cartoons that children could see on weekend morning shows, delves into the nostalgic atmosphere of a film that is closely related to Linklater’s own childhoodwho was born in 1960 and was nine years old in 1969, the year in which the film is set, in which the dichotomy that American society was experiencing is shown, with a part looking towards the future with the space race that culminated with the arrival From Man to the Moon and with another focused on the social waves and the revolts for the rights of various communities, such as the African-American.
Linklater does not go into the political background, but he does make it clear that it exists and that, sadly, it was not part of the reality of the citizens who lived on the outskirts, the middle-class populations outside of it. On the other hand, the filmmaker never forgets the perspective of its protagonist, who looks at reality from a dreamy approach, typical of a nine-year-old boy, whose father works at NASA. It is fascinating how the film also takes an x-ray of that middle class, away from the social problems of the news but who also had their own problems, such as making ends meet. Linklater pays tribute to those fathers and, above all, to those mothers, housewives who were true economic managerscapable of stretching their husbands’ salaries with masterful skill.
An endearing look at the memories of yesterday
But what elevates the film is its endearing character, it is impossible not to be infected by the dreamy character of the young protagonist, who turns this costumbrist fable into a true space adventure recounting a fictional tale of a secret NASA mission in which engineers first tested the moon landing on a nine-year-old boy before sending Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins to Earth’s only satellite. Linklater manages to imbue viewers with the feeling that they are living through a historic moment, proof of this is the filmmaker’s homage to the pop culture of the timewith sequences in theaters with movies like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ or series like ‘Star Trek’.
‘Apollo 10½: A Space Childhood’ is a work in which Linklater handles himself like a fish in water, as he is one of the filmmakers who best knows how to portray the passage of life, as he reflected in his ‘Before Dawn’ trilogy ‘. Unlike other period looks like ‘We all want something,’ in which Linklater paid tribute to his own youth, her homage to her childhood feels more spontaneous, thanks to that endearing touch and an animation that sister with recent titles like ‘Where’s My Body?’ or ‘flee’. A personal proposal that brings one of the great names of American independent cinema back to the forefront.
‘Apollo 10½: A Space Childhood’ is now available on netflix.
The best: The atmosphere of nostalgia, its animation style and a charismatic protagonist.
Worst: That it has not been possible to enjoy the film in theaters, even if it is in a limited way.