7th October 2019 8.30pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
8th October 2019 11.15am at Embankment Garden Cinema
10th October 2019 2.30pm at BFI Southbank (NFT)
Inspired by true events, The Aeronauts ropes Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne back together for a not entirely realistic journey into the skies.
It’s 1862 – a world steeped in casual sexism and scientific scepticism – and the hot air balloon is state-of-the-art technology. Accurate weather prediction is in dire need of an update. James Glaisher (Redmayne) is convinced he can do something to change that. If he could only take to the skies he knows he could unlock the earth’s mysteries, advance the field of meteorology, and be certain of when it will next rain. Amelia Wren (Jones) is his ticket to the sky. She’s a performing balloonist who knows how to play it to the crowds, despite a traumatic past lingering just below the surface.
As the balloon lifts them into the sky, the duo’s memories flitter into the narrative. The film straddles their past lives on earth and their current world-record challenging flight. When they are not drifting up into the stratosphere with hopeful gazes directed towards the starry skies, the film contains a lot of walking and talking aimed at convincing characters to go on the journey we already know that they are on. It’s not exactly a masterclass in suspense. Ultimately, it might have been better suited to a stage play.
As they drift above the cumulus clouds into a raging storm, Jones and Redmayne fall in and out of the balloon, magically saved by the ropes, more times than one could ever hope for. The wide-angle lens on the edge of the balloon strips away the illusion of a period film, making it seem more like a recording of spin on Carpool Karaoke.
Granted, The Aeronauts is resonant in its knowledge that our natural world can never be truly conquered, and holds up the bravery of scientists who trust their intuition that there is more to be discovered. But their altitude-inducing hallucinations and heroic actions are washed away by this too-high-budget movie, as it follows a balloon drifting insurmountably high.
The Aeronauts is released nationwide on 4th November 2019.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for The Aeronauts here: