Often the best Netflix movies fly under the radar, and it's rarely anyone's fault. The latest Netflix hidden gem arrived while the streamer was hyping up the release of raunchy comedy The Bubble, but quietly releasing this film at the same time.
The film is called Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood and it would be a great shame if it got lost in Netflix's vast content library. It's a wonderfully charming family-friendly feature that will capture the imagination of viewers both young and old.
The film comes from writer/director Richard Linklater, who was also behind such cinematic masterpieces as the Before trilogy, Boyhood and Dazed and Confused. He’s also got form for helming beloved family favorites as he directed 2003’s School of Rock, which remains extremely popular almost two decades later.
Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood is set in the summer of 1969 and tells the story of the first moon landing from two interwoven perspectives. On one side there’s the tale of the astronauts and mission control at NASA. The other side of the story involves a young boy growing up in Houston with intergalactic dreams of his own.
Netflix describes the film as “part coming of age, part societal commentary and part out-of-this-world adventure.” An appealing combination if we’ve ever heard one.
Critics have been raving about the film with it scoring a particularly impressive 91% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. This is quite a stark contrast compared to The Bubble. While the Judd Apatow comedy has received far more attention from Netflix it has earned a thoroughly rotten 24% with some critics labelling it one of the worst movies of 2022 so far. It looks like Netflix bet on the wrong horse with its marketing efforts.
The New York Times labelled Apollo 10 ½ a “lovely and charming stroll down memory lane” while Rolling Stone was similarly enthusiastic calling the film “poignant, funny, expansive and ultimately moving.”
The film is in part inspired by Linklater’s own childhood, which is another aspect that several critics have praised. The film has also receive acclaim for balancing wistful nostalgia with the understanding that everything wasn’t necessarily better back then.
If you’re looking for something new to watch on Netflix this week, then Apollo 10 ½ may be just the answer. If you already enjoyed it over the weekend, there are plenty more recommendations in our what to watch in April roundup with shows and movies spanning multiple streaming services including Netflix, HBO Max and Hulu.
Looking for what to watch next? We've got all the new MCU details for those looking to watch Moon Knight episode 2 online, as the weirdest Marvel show gets weirder. Oh, and forget Netflix — HBO Max has the best new comedy special, with a new comedy show that everyone is talking about.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.