Telluride Film Festival 2019: “The Aeronauts” Review
The Aeronauts tells the story of James Glashier, a budding meteorologist who believes that we can learn to predict the weather by getting data in the sky. In order to do so, he must head up in a hot air balloon, higher than any man or woman has ever gone. To do this, he enlists the help of Amelia Wren, a famed aeronaut to take him up in the balloon. Once up there, they must handle dangers and many challenges that threaten their very lives.
Right from the first opening scene, you are teased with the level of intensity the film will reach. The Aeronauts starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones is a high-flying adventure that will delight audiences with its visual magic. The story is exciting and reignites the sense of adventure and discovery we once had when facing the unknown. Its visual endeavors pay off in a big way and must be seen on a big screen. The score of the film is beautifully intrinsic to the rest of the film and adds to the enchantment of the film.
Felicity Jones’ performance as Amelia Wren builds as the film progress, propelling her into the action and excitement of the film. Because of the nature of their adventure, Felicity’s performance has an intensity that is amplified by the isolation high in the sky. Many moments in the balloon are spent quietly focuses on the human reaction and resilience of her character. Eddie Redmayne continues to captures hearts as the charming James Glashier. His performance is wonderful and I don’t think there is a better actor out there who could capture the wide-eyed wonder and awe of being 23,000 feet in the air.
While I enjoyed the film, the back and forth with the timeline made a short film feel longer. A more linear story could have made the film feel tighter and heightened the intensity. With the back and forth, it also built upon the characters and our concern for their future but could have been more effective with knowing these things before they ascend.
The costume design by Alexandra Byrne, particularly the dresses was incredibly detailed and beautiful. As the two embark on their journey, Amelia is wearing a beautiful short dress that is colorful, intricately embroidered and enchanting. It almost reminds me of the costumes in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
The Aeronauts perfectly combines the quiet majesty of the skies and clouds with a high-flying adventure that is incredibly human and emotionally engaging. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones continue to bring us highly emotional and moving performances accented with high stakes action that you don’t quite expect from the film. Tom Harper’s direction of the film creates something majestic and enchanting as we travel high in the sky.