Why Isn't Everyone Completely Obsessed With The Aeronauts (2019)?
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Somehow, The Aeronauts managed to completely bypass my radar upon its release, but I finally watched it a couple of weeks ago, and OH MY - I was shaking in my boots from beginning to end. I can't believe this movie didn't receive more hype, because it is a visual masterpiece, and I just have to talk about how deeply this film impacted me.
History and Plot
The Aeronauts is based on the 2013 novel Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air by Richard Holmes, which depicts the true story of the most significant balloon flight ever recorded. In 1862 London, James Glaisher and scientific partner Henry Coxwell took to the skies and flew over 30,000 feet, the highest any man or woman had gone at that time.
The movie follows this quite accurately but instead replaces Henry Coxwell with fictional partner Amelia Wren. Amelia was partially based on Margaret Graham, a woman who made the first solo balloon flight, and Sophie Blanchard, who was used as inspiration for Amelia's backstory. The writers also confirmed that they chose the name Amelia as a tribute to Amelia Earhart, one of the most influential female aviators.
I enjoyed the dual timeline in this film, as it gave us some variation between conversation and incredible adventure sequences. This movie was directed and filmed in a way to make you feel like you're actually experiencing the balloon flight, which if you're like me and terrified of heights, keeps your levels of anxiety and excitements raised throughout the entire film.
Therefore, I was grateful for the varied moments of the character's regular lives, as it gave my heart a chance to stop pounding. It also gave us further insight into their individual reasons for becoming aeronauts, which added fantastic depth to the storyline altogether.
Felicity Jones (Northanger Abbey) and Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables) play the starring roles, and remarkably well. While I've never been a big fan of Redmayne, I really enjoyed his performance in this movie. He's quite convincing in the role of a scientist, which he established a few years prior in the film The Theory of Everything, where he again starred alongside Jones. These two actors have fantastic chemistry, which made their friendship and partnership both believable and heartwarming. It's my hope that they will continue to star alongside one another in future films!
Now, to the main reason why this film is truly incredible: the paradisaic visuals of the atmosphere and nature all around Amelia and James. The variation in the color palette was gorgeous, displaying the brilliant purple and blue hues of the sky. The experience was rather akin to immersive Virtual Reality videos - you felt like you were really up there in the clouds.
I have to give massive props to the CGI and special effects teams for this film. Their work was outstanding, and, though the story is truly incredible on its own, the scenes where the balloon is hovering above the air, or when the butterflies are covering the basket - those are pivotal moments that make this film. And they would not have been possible without the visual effects department.
I wish I could go on more about the details of this film, but to do that would be to spoil a truly cinematic experience for our readers. All I will say is that I haven't felt so immersed in a film like this since the last time I was able to visit a movie theatre. You have the full experience without needing a massive screen to watch it on.
So please, watch The Aeronauts, and let us know how you enjoyed it! For myself, this film has brought its way into my list of favorite period dramas ever created.