The Aeronauts is the biographical period drama film following a balloon flight by real life meteorologist James Glaisher and the fictional amalgamation of a few people, Amelia Wren. The pair attempt to break the world altitude record while Glaisher seeks to make scientific discoveries to further science’s understanding of weather patterns.
There is essentially two different films going on here. The major part of the film follows James and Amelia during their ascent in the hot air balloon. This is interspersed with flashbacks to James and Amelia’s struggle to get this expedition off the ground, with James fighting a lack of support from the scientific community, and Amelia struggling with past demons. Honestly these parts of the film are far less engaging and interesting, as they are a fairly standard period drama, especially when compared to some of the sequences in the balloon.
And that is because some of the scenes in the balloon are genuinely thrilling when they encounter adverse weather conditions. One scene in particular uses the heights well, and will definitely make the majority of the audience feel extremely uncomfortable and uneasy with the tension that director Tom Harper creates there. But for the most part it is a paper thin story, which means the film is generally only engaging when something exciting happens in the balloon.
Ther performances are fine as well. Felicity Jones is certainly committed as Amelia, and really carries the climax of the film. Meanwhile Eddie Redmayne gives a fairly standard Eddie Redmayne performance, so whether you find his usual persona charming or not will determine what you think of him in the film. The rest of the cast really don’t have much to do. Which is a little frustrating when you have actors such as Tim McInnerny, Rebecca Front, or Robert Glenister reduced to just a couple of lines.
Honestly The Aeronauts is a perfect fine film with some beautiful effects and a few great sequences but is, in the end, ultimately forgettable.