A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
When a society sets its mind to achieving something seen as benefitting humankind, it brings people from many walks of life together. Social critique is a healthy part of a democratic society. Science and technological innovation propel society forward.
Positive Role Models
Children feel safe and loved when surrounded by family. Kids do chores and respect their parents, then also have a lot of free time and independence to roam and play. NASA employees of every level feel they contribute to the space missions. School teachers and principals punish kids in physically abusive ways. Grandparents who lived through the Depression save and reuse everything. A frugal parent isn't above lying to save a dollar.
White characters acknowledge the overwhelming lack of Black people in their neighborhood, school, and working at NASA, and classroom scenes show minimal diversity among students and teachers at a suburban school. Some public figures of the time criticized spending money to send humans to the moon when there were so many social inequalities back home to be addressed. A mother discusses whether certain people on the city street are "hippies" or not, locking her car door when she decides one is for sure.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Television scenes depict images of war in Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, riots, and assassinations of the era. Kids are taught to duck and hide under their desks in case of an atomic bomb during the Cold War era. Kids throw balls at each other, fight, and hurt themselves in outdoor games (including one bloody wound). Safety measures weren't the same in the 1960s, seen in kids riding in the back of pick-up trucks on the freeway, biking behind trucks spraying poisonous chemicals, or an unattended baby falling asleep in the middle of the road. Kids suffer corporeal punishments at school. A person vomits during space training; three astronauts die on a space mission. Some violent images from other movies are shown. Kids set off firecrackers.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Parents kiss, girls swoon over rock stars and boys over movie stars, contraception like the pill is discussed, a teen has a stash of Playboy magazines, and two boys look for people making out in cars at a drive-in movie theater.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"S--t," "damn," "damned," "hell," "crap," "oh my God," "fart," "darn it."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Lots of brands, stores, shows, albums/musical groups, and movies from the time are seen or discussed. NASA, Astros/Astrodome/Astroworld, CBS, Baskin Robbins, Playboy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes (indoors) and cigars. Someone points out the connection between the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and LSD.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the animated film Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood offers a nostalgic tour of life in the United States in the late 1960s -- and, in particular, the excitement of the race to put a human on the moon. Accurately for the era, people smoked indoors and drank at parties; LSD is also mentioned. Kids are shown often being left to manage themselves, safely or not -- they hurt themselves and/or get in harm's way outside. School officials use the power they had at the time to physically punish students. Girls swoon over rock stars, and boys make eyes at movie stars and Playboy magazines. Television scenes depict images of the time, including war in Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, riots, and assassinations. Kids are taught to duck and hide under their desks in case of an atomic bomb. And astronauts risk their lives to explore space, sometimes not returning. Language in the film includes "s--t," "damn," "damned," "hell," "crap," and "oh my God." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This entertaining, semi-autobiographical film is brimming with nostalgia for a simpler time when kids were left to their own devices and society had a reason to come together for a common cause. Have we lost the ability to so broadly share communal emotion, like neighbors did in 1969 when a man first walked on the moon, captured so eloquently in Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood? Richard Linklater seems to be asking the question without posing it directly, just as he wistfully depicts aspects of the late 1960s that were truly less than idyllic, like canned meals, indoor chain-smoking, and social inequalities.
The film intentionally plays with the idea of memory, as Stan's recollection of participating in the Apollo mission suggests, though this is ironically the least engaging part of the tale. The film also combines animation technologies to evoke the time period in a way that is both realistic and simulated. The first half "let me tell you about life back then" exposition is riveting, and viewers of a certain age, in particular, will be transported. Its first-person narration (voiced by Jack Black) is reminiscent of The Wonder Years. Will younger viewers grasp the chills of what it was like to see the first photo of earth from space or watch men walk on the moon on live television? Maybe not, but animating the story and telling it from the perspective of a child represents a remarkably valiant effort at translating a mood across time and, well, space.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.