Review: The Aeronauts

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in The Aeronauts

The Aeronauts is a nail-biting adventure about an intrepid and courageous gas balloon pilot in 1862. That pilot is Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones). This Amazon Original makes Amelia Wren as heroic as Indiana Jones or any other adventurer on the screen.

The Aeronauts is based on true events. Wren agreed to pilot the balloon for budding meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), a scientist who was trying to create some science around weather prediction.

The two of them headed aloft with great fanfare and into a questionable looking cloud. The visual effects in The Aeronauts were stunning. The balloon rose through a thunderstorm, a butterfly migration, and a snowstorm. The visuals were incredibly beautiful.

Above the clouds in The Aeronauts

The role Felicity Jones played was demanding and physical. She jumped around the basket and the rigging like a gymnast. When they reached the altitude where the oxygen was getting too low and they should have descended, they kept going up. Everything froze, including the vent at the top of the balloon meant to release gas for the descent. Amelia climbed up there and kicked the vent open, then passed out atop the balloon.

Felicity Jones in The Aeronauts

It was exciting and dangerous. Most thrilling of all, however, was the heroic woman at the center of the story. She’s an inspiration to young girls. I hope all parents have their daughters watch this movie. And their sons.

They went higher than anyone had ever gone before. High enough to learn that the atmosphere has layers and the oxygen gets thinner the higher you go. They almost didn’t make it down because of oxygen deprivation.

During the flight a few flashbacks introduce us to the characters stories. Amelia’s husband Pierre Rennes (Vincent Perez) died in a balloon accident when she flew too high. Her sister Antonia (Phoebe Fox) spent a lot of time trying to talk her out of flying again.

James’ best friend John (Himesh Patel), on the other hand, encouraged his dreams of understanding the atmosphere and the weather. James’ parents were played by Tom Courtenay and Anne Reid.

I was surprised to see the keyword for the film on IMDB is not ‘gas balloon‘ as would be correct, but ‘hot air balloon’, which this is not. The balloon in this story floated because it was full of a gas that was lighter than air, not because it was full of heated air. That’s your science lesson for today.

Poster for The Aeronauts

The trailer gives you a glimpse of the excitement.

Have you watched this film yet? What was your impression of it?

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Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia finally retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

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