starring Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel, Anne Reid
written by Jack Thorne
directed by Tom Harper
by Walter Chaw If you would've thought that a film about the early days of meteorology would be deadly and ridiculous: good call. Tom Harper's The Aeronauts imagines plucky meteorologist James Glashier (Eddie Redmayne) as a starry-eyed dreamer certain that one day humans will predict the weather badly in front of bluescreens. In pursuit of this, he enlists the aid of tragic hot-air balloonist (well, not hot air at that time--gas of some sort) Amilia Renne (Felicity Jones), a fictional character standing in for the real James Glashier's erstwhile ballooning companion, Henry Tracey Coxwell. See, all the names are hilarious: the Glashier that will not melt damn the torpedoes, the pretty flying "wren," and in real life there was a "Coxwell." Anyhow, Amelia, named after the other woman pilot you know the name of, is a showman, arriving late to the launching grounds riding on top of her carriage (can you imagine!) with her trick dog and her magic voice that carries several football pitches in every direction with no magnification. You can tell from the start that James doesn't approve of her showboating, except that the way the film is structured--as a series of flashbacks detailing their relationship--it's clear that James has sought her out because of her draw as a public attraction. You can tell from the start, too, that the real vertical ascent is the friends they'll become along the way.