Toronto 2019: The Aeronauts

Felicity Jones in THE AERONAUTS. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Aeronauts is an adventure thriller that takes place in the skies while seeking to soar to the highest heights in history.

The film reteams The Theory of Everything stars Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne as balloonist Amelia Wren and scientist James Glaisher, respectively.  While Glaisher existed in real life, Wren is made up solely for the film.  I can understand the reasoning behind this even as it takes Henry Coxwell out of the picture.  If you can get beyond this particular change in the story, the film is a solid action thriller.

While the film is set in 1862, it doesn’t come without some flashbacks.  The flashbacks do help in telling the story because it explains how the two characters came to be that way.  They also allow the film to have some much-needed breathing room, too.  Wren’s husband died to save her life on an earlier flight so you can imagine how much trauma this caused.  As such, it’s perfectly understandable that she would initially reject Glaisher’s offer.  Glaisher wants to perform the impossible.  It should come has no surprise that his fellow scientists practically laugh their way out of the room.  Wren serves as his last possible chance at soaring to new heights.  If she doesn’t help, he can forget all about making advances in advanced weather predictions.

Fear sets in as the duo climb higher.  You can see it on their faces let alone by way of the icicles forming on their body.  As they climb higher into the thin air, Amelia will have to risk her life to save the both of them.  When the gas release valve doesn’t open due to ice, she has no choice but to climb to the top.  If she doesn’t do so, both of them are as good as dead.

The film wonderfully recreates the time period.  Moreover, director Tom Harper gets some thrilling performances out of the leading actors, too.  While some will appreciate the changes made, others will likely prefer that the film would stay true to history.  To each their own, I suppose.  Regardless, The Aeronauts comes with a fast pace and entertaining performances all around.

While the film will be streaming on Amazon in late December, I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen.  This is the type of film that should be seen on the big screen.  The thrills are sure to play out so much better on a big screen than they could while watching at home on a television.  If this is an option, please take advantage of it!

The Aeronauts is sure to have viewers on the edge of their seats.

DIRECTOR:  Tom Harper
CAST:  Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Courtenay, Himesh Patel

The Aeronauts held its Canadian premiere during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in the Gala presentations program. Amazon Studios will release the film in theaters on December 6, 2019 and Prime Video on December 20, 2019. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.