Adventure Biography

Skyward Bound: A TIFF Review of ‘The Aeronauts’

September 13, 2019Ben MK

For as long as man has gazed upwards at the sky, we have longed to soar above it. But while there have been films made about the first astronauts to go to the moon, or the first men to fly a plane, what of the pioneers who helped take humanity into the skies in the first place?

The time and place is 1862 London, and England's scientific community balks at James Glaisher's (Eddie Redmayne) claims of devising a way to predict weather patterns. Nonetheless, James and pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones), who lost her husband some years earlier, are more than eager to prove his detractors wrong. Ascending into the sky in a magnificently decorated hot-air balloon, their aim is to break the height record and gather some invaluable scientific data along the way. However, as they soon discover, all of the challenges they face going up are nothing compared to the challenges they will facing coming back down to earth.

Directed by Tom Harper, the resulting mix of historical drama and high-flying adventure proves rousing from start to finish. However, it's the on-screen chemistry between Redmayne and Jones (which they also shared in The Theory of Everything) that really helps The Aeronauts soar.

The Aeronauts makes its Canadian premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 41 min.

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