Posts Tagged Felicity Jones

The Aeronauts

TheAeronautsPosterDirector: Tom Harper
Writers: Tom Harper, Jack Thorne
Stars: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel
Release Date: 4 November 2019 (UK)
Runtime: 100 min
Rated PG-13

I went to see this at a special screening not knowing quite what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. The film is set in 1862 and tells the story of two, very different, people: the theatrical balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and the serious minded meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne). The relationship between the two is at the heart of the film.

One of the refreshing things about the film is that it doesn’t develop the relationship along romantic lines (although there is chemistry between the two). Both characters reveal a mix of strength and vulnerability to each other as they face challenges and dangers. Both come to rely on and appreciate each other. All this while the puzzle of Amelia’s past and motivation is revealed as she begins to trust James more.

There is real suspense too as the two push existing boundaries into the danger zone to advance scientific discovery. Parts of the film had me on the edge of my seat. At other calmer moments, the views from the balloon are truly beautiful. The Aeronauts could work as a play (because of the storyline and emphasis on just two people in a confined environment) but the views and sense of space mean that film is the ideal medium.

Some have criticised the film for replacing Henry Tracey Coxwell with the fictional Amelia Wren. It was James Glaisher and him who broke the world record for altitude on September 5, 1862. I think it is important to note the contribution of Coxwell and give him his place in history. This though is a story and doesn’t have to follow the historical facts in all respects. There were notable female balloonists at the time such as Sophie Blanchard and Margaret Graham who have been drawn on in the creation of Amelia Wren. The relationship between the male and female leads is charming and a testament to what real partnership between individuals across gender can achieve. The film would have lost this element with two males.

The positive message of the film that scientific progress is worth risk and will benefit the whole of humanity is something our consumerist society has become distracted from. By depicting a man and a woman who were prepared to die, if need be, for that is inspiring. I hope that both young men and women will appreciate that as well as enjoy a thrilling, beautiful film.

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

Leave a Comment