I Want More Movies Like This, Hollywood


  • Fly Me to the Moon is a nostalgic, stylish rom-com set during the Space Race era, with strong performances from Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson.
  • The film explores the lead-up to the Apollo 11 mission and the relationship between launch director Cole Davis and marketing whiz Kelly Jones, while also addressing conspiracy theories.
  • Despite certain pacing issues, the movie’s charm, engaging characters, and retro feel make it a worthwhile watch.

Fast-moving, stylishly edited, and packed to the brim with nostalgia for a vital moment in American history, Greg Berlanti’s Fly Me to the Moon has a lot on its mind. In many ways, it feels like the classic sort of movie Hollywood is wary of making these days, though I really hope that this Space Race rom-com changes studios’ minds. Fly Me to the Moon is far from a perfect movie, but for two hours and 12 minutes, it took me on a journey I thoroughly enjoyed.

Fly Me to the Moon (2024)


Greg Berlanti

Release Date

July 12, 2024


Keenan Flynn
, Rose Gilroy
, Bill Kirstein

Releasing between the animated antics of Despicable Me 4 and disaster flick Twisters, it might seem like the movie is out of place. However, with the 55th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch on July 16, now is actually the best time for Fly Me to the Moon. The main throughline is simple: Launch director Cole Davis (Channing Tatum) is fiercely determined to get the astronauts up to the moon safely, especially after the Apollo 1 tragedy. While he’s focused on that, marketing whiz Kelly Jones (Scarlett Johansson) is brought in to sell America on the moon.

Fly Me To The Moon Is Several Movies At Once

A rom-com, a period comedy, and an alternate history…

The push-and-pull between Cole and Kelly is the foundation of Fly Me to the Moon‘s biggest stories: The actual lead-up to the Apollo 11 mission and the opposites-attract romance between honest NASA loyalist Cole and Kelly, who can spin anything into a compelling pitch thanks to some loose morals. As written by Rose Gilroy (with a story from Keenan Flynn and Bill Kirstein), both characters go beyond simple archetypes, and their clashing personalities only make their unfolding relationship even more compelling. It helps that Johansson and Tatum have good chemistry.

On top of the actual history, Fly Me to the Moon plays with the long-standing conspiracy theory that the moon landing was faked, with shady government agent Moe (Woody Harrelson) coming in to ask Kelly to oversee the creation of a faux-landing to broadcast in case the true event goes wrong. It’s probably valid to question whether a movie acknowledging a conspiracy theory at a time like this is responsible, but the execution is playful enough that it’s easy to forgive.


Fly Me To The Moon True Story: Did NASA Really Film A Fake Moon Landing As A Back-Up?

Fly Me To The Moon puts a comedic spin on the Apollo 11 mission, but did NASA hire a marketing team and fake the moon landing in real life?

For the most part, Berlanti juggles all these plot threads (and their respective tones) pretty well, moving everything along at a zippy pace with the help of Daniel Pemberton’s swinging score and Harry Jierjian’s retro-styled editing. At a certain point, though, the strain is felt. There were many times I thought the film had reached a suitable endpoint, only to realize there was still more to wrap up. Because I enjoyed the characters and the atmosphere so much, I was willing to forgive the frequent false endings, but the movie felt longer than expected.

Fly Me To The Moon’s Supporting Cast Impresses

Even with small parts, they shine

Fly Me to the Moon is largely being marketed as a two-hander between Johansson and Tatum, and that isn’t an inaccurate depiction. Still, the movie wouldn’t feel as vibrant as it does without the added talents of its supporting cast. Ray Romano has a surprisingly heartfelt role as Cole’s second-in-command, Henry, bringing depth to a character who sometimes disappears from the narrative.

The comedic MVP is Community‘s Jim Rash, who elicited the most laughter at my screening with his wry one-liners. He plays Lance Vespertine, the director hired to stage the fake moon landing, and he makes the most of every scene he has. Crucially, Fly Me to the Moon never lost sight of the friendship between Kelly and her assistant Ruby (Anna Garcia). This added a sweet extra layer to the story that, unlike other elements, never felt extraneous, and gave Garcia the chance to make Ruby more than a stock character.

Fly Me To The Moon’s Old Hollywood Feel Makes It A Charmer

Even when it gets really silly

With its glossy, high-budgeted sheen, Fly Me to the Moon could never be mistaken as anything but a 2024 movie, but there’s a classic quality to it that had me remembering older rom-coms. I wouldn’t ever dare say that Tatum and Johansson’s chemistry matches that of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, but there were moments where I felt like their banter could fit right in with one of the screen legends’ movies. There’s a thrill that comes from watching two talented actors firing lines back and forth.

Even when Fly Me to the Moon feels close to bursting with the effort of packing everything in, the two leads ground everything with their earnest performances.

Tatum’s Cole has baggage related to the Apollo 1 tragedy, and Johansson’s Kelly has skeletons of her own in the closet. Even when Fly Me to the Moon feels close to bursting with the effort of packing everything in, the two leads ground everything with their earnest performances. This is especially helpful when the movie gets a bit too enamored with the slapstick humor, particularly through the recurring use of a black cat. The cat is adorable and does draw laughs, but in a movie that takes a while to wrap up, it doesn’t always feel necessary.

Despite certain shortcomings, Fly Me to the Moon has ample charm. In recreating the days surrounding the Apollo 11 mission and the moon landing itself, Berlanti succeeds in evoking feelings of triumph and awe in his audience. This is the kind of movie I’d like to see more of, the kind that wears its heart on its sleeve and takes us on a ride. A meandering ride, sure, but even a long trip can have its perks.

Fly Me to the Moon releases in theaters on Friday, July 12. It is 132 minutes long and rated PG-13 for some strong language, and smoking.

Fly Me to the Moon (2024) - Poster - Scarlett Johanson & Channing tatum

Fly Me To The Moon is a sharp, stylish comedy-drama set against the high-stakes backdrop of NASA’s historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Brought in to fix NASA’s public image, sparks fly between Kelly Jones and Cole Davis’s. When the White House deems the mission too important to fail, Jones is directed to stage a fake moon landing as back-up.


  • Fly Me to the Moon has a lot of heart and humor
  • The rom-com is elevated by Channing Tatum & Scarlett Johansson’s chemistry
  • The supporting cast is excellent
  • The film is oozing with charm and banter

  • Fly Me to the Moon meandered a bit too long before coming to its end

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