The Aeronauts

Scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) is determined to prove that his hypothesis, that by gathering data from above the clouds we can better predict weather patterns, is correct. The problem is that few in the scientific community believe anything he is saying. Also he has no balloon to get him that high and he has never flown before. Aeronaut Pilot Amelia Rennes (Felicity Jones) hasn’t flown a balloon since a tragic accident claimed the life of her husband, Pierre Rennes (Vincent Perez). She is a brilliant pilot but has lost her will to fly. When she meets Glaisher he convinces her to reach heights that no one else has achieved. The two join together and attempt to prove something to the people in their lives and themselves. They will attempt to break the record for the highest balloon flight in history as well as prove Glaisher’s hypothesis correct. To reach their ambitions they will have to survive low levels of oxygen, freezing temperatures and Mother Nature.

Tim Harper (Wild Rose, TV’s Peaky Blinders) directs this film based on true events. Both Redmayne and Jones do a good job. Jones especially gives a powerful performance. The rest of the cast, including Tim McInnerny, Himesh Patel, Phoebe Fox, are all okay but it is definitely more of the story of the two main characters. The balloon and the visuals are also a big part of the movie. Some shots you can tell that are CGI but overall it is a visually pleasing movie. They did a good job of telling the story of a historical event that helped paved the way for modern meteorology. I didn’t find the overall story very compelling however. It was interesting and there were some tense moments but it felt like the content of the story was lacking.

This was definitely not a story I was familiar with and found interesting. The movie does a decent enough job of telling the story of the less than two hour balloon ride that helped change history. The movie at 140 minutes could have been even shorter and I feel like they stretched the story as far as they could. I thought it was a good movie that I would probably watch again it if was on TV. The visuals are made to be seen on a big screen.

3 out of 5


Second Review by

Angele Colageo


James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), the English meteorologist and Aeronaut who pioneered weather forecasting in the early to mid-1800’s. In the film, Glaisher believes that the atmosphere is laid out in multiple layers and his intent was to prove it by going up and making a record of the data as he ascends to the heavens. Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) is a fictional character that is a conglomeration of many female aeronauts who would fly balloons and perform acrobatics. Together, they forge upwards towards discovery.

The movie provides a cursory look at Glaisher’s past, however in doing to, they use more than a few jumps back in time to tell the story. The use of this method takes away from the movement. Where it could have spent more time in developing the characters histories by going more in-depth, telling of each character’s motivation. The film has a supporting cast of Britain’s outstanding actors. Redmayne and Jones are two on the list of exceptional actors.
There were glimpses into both James and Amelia’s histories that could have been expanded upon to give depth to the film. I wanted to know more about how James went from a clockmaker’s son to become a meteorologist. His ideas, his development, his awards and recognitions are happenings that needed to be provided to fill out the history of the man. Wren, being a based in true examples is shown initially more as a circus performer than a tough, strong woman who was widowed.

This movie could have been so much more for the audience. It could have provided a lesson in British meteorological and aeronautical history as well as recognition of women in a time that leads up to the suffrage movement where women fought for their rights in a time where they were merely looked upon as servants to men. I wanted to learn about Glaisher’s thought process, his ideas and results.

Yes, movies are entertainment, but stories, based in our history needs to inform, teach of the past. The Aeronauts, sadly does not do that. It wastes the extraordinary talents of Redmayne and Jones by not giving them the structure and enough of an arena to give us an exceptional show.

2 out of 5 stars