Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Aeronauts (2019)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime
Movie Name/Year: The Aeronauts (2019)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Biography
Length:  100 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Amazon Studios, Mandeville Films, One Shoe Films, Popcorn Storm, Entertainment One, Shaw Organisation, The Searchers, Ascot Elite Entertainment Group, Bir Film, NOS Audiovisuais
Director: Tom Harper
Writers: Tom Harper, Jack Thorne
Actors: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel, Phoebe Fox, Tim McInnerny, Rebecca Front, Tom Courtenay, Anne Reid, Lewin Lloyd, Vincent Perez, Robert Glenister, Julian Ferro, Thomas Arnold, Andy Mihalache, Bella

Blurb from IMDb: Balloon pilot Amelia Wren and scientist James Glaisher find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a gas balloon in the 1860s.

Cat’s Point of View:
Balloons are such an icon of wonder and whimsy. It’s nearly universal – regardless of age, someone will smile when presented with your average standard helium balloon. People stare, caught up in the moment when hot-air balloons are in the sky. I know I do, at least. We have an annual hot-air balloon rally here, and it’s something to see so many beautiful balloons in the sky at the same time. I digress…

I think that The Aeronauts deftly captures the wonder of witnessing balloon-flight and relentless pursuit of scientific discovery, which are at the heart of this story. Of course, perseverance, courage, and daring to push beyond the status quo are also themes well represented here.

The visuals in The Aeronauts were simply stunning. Breathtaking cloud vistas and heart-stopping moments are woven liberally into the film. I have a thing with heights. There were a few moments my heart was racing a little.

I’ve seen a lot of negative buzz about this movie due to the fact that the production has taken a biography and then applied a generous bit of literary license with it. If one looks at the actual events that frame this biopic, it becomes clear that Felicity Jones’ (The Theory of Everything, Inferno, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) character, Amelia, doesn’t actually exist. James Glaisher, played by Eddie Redmayne (Black Death, Jupiter Ascending, The Danish Girl), did have an aeronaut partner on his record-breaking flight, but it was a man named Henry Tracey Coxwell.

Some feel that his character was overlooked merely for the sake of politically correct diversity. While I can’t argue that the portrayal of the movie doesn’t fit the entire truth of the story, I have to interject that Amelia’s involvement in the tale does elevate the narrative, regardless. Further, not every historical movie has 100% of all the facts portrayed accurately. This wasn’t a situation where they just chucked in a female character for the sake of romance or something equally extraneous to the story.

My theory is that the writers combined another historical ballooning figure with the pilot of the famous flight in order to tie two aspects of the history of ballooning and flight together and offer a bit of showmanship at the same time. I imagine it would be a safe bet that Jones’ character’s name is based on none other than Amelia Earhart, as a symbol of aviation innovation and inspiration to girls of all ages. It would be an entirely different, and I dare say likely dull, movie if she weren’t involved.

Hats off to Jones and Redmayne for a phenomenal job here! I feel entirely justified listing this film as my #6 on my personal Top 20 for December 2019 (it was #15 for Selina). I would certainly give this one a recommendation for anyone with a sense of adventure, and I will likely watch this one again in the near future; as I intend to get my daughter to watch it with me next time. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score - 72%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 95%
Metascore – 60/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.6/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5

Movie Trailer:

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