Pleasant and charming are the first two words that come to mind when I think of The Aeronauts. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones team up once again after the success of ‘The Theory of Everything’. This time around Redmayne is James Glaisher, a scientist who believes that he can prove that the weather can be predicted, he just needs some help which he doesn’t get from his colleagues. Instead he turns to aeronaut Amelia Wren whose flair for showmanship and crowd pleasing doesn’t sit well with his ideas and plans. Soon the pair are hurtling skywards in a hot air balloon. The higher they get, the greater the rewards and risks.

Sir Tom Courtenay and Anne Reid are part of the supporting cast. Both give sensitive and subtle performances as James’ parents. His home life and back story are told using flashbacks; this is the same as Amelia whose tragic past is replayed in the same way. Phoebe Fox and Himesh Patel fill out the rest of the cast as Amelia’s worrying sister and James’ best friend and supportive work colleague.

Director Tom Harper, whose last film ‘Wild Rose’ was highly praised, has created a very likeable picture which bounces along at a brisk pace. This is not a easy feat when most of the film is located in a basket underneath a hot air balloon.

Costume designer Alexandre Byrne’s work particularly stands out. Her work adds depth and realism to story, which needs all the help to assist the audience to really delve into the story. The real MVP of The Aeronauts is the special effects, especially when the balloon is at its highest. The long and lingering shots really give you time to marvel at the craftsmanship of excellent visual effects.

While the film never reaches the heights it wants to, it is exciting and nail biting but at times it somehow finds a way just to feel a little underdeveloped, maybe it is the lacklustre script. Thankfully the techinal aspects of the film like the special effects and costume design really do stand out. Overall The Aeronauts is fine and harmless but it is quite forgettable.

Rating: ★★★

Directed by:  Tom Harper
Written by: Tom Harper,, Jack Thorne,
Cast: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel, Phoebe Fox, Anne Reid

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