The Aeronauts Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: acting by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones; hot air balloon scenes; atmosphere Cons: flashbacks without intrigue; distortion of the real story “The Aeronauts” / The Aeronauts

Genre drama, adventure
Director Tom Harper
Cast: Eddie Redmayne (James Glaisher), Felicity Jones (Amelia Wren), Phoebe Fox (Antonia), Himesh Patel (John Trew), Tim McInnerny (Airey), Tom Courtenay (Arthur Glaisher), Vincent Perez (Pierre Rene), Robert Glenister (Ned Chambers), Anne Reid (Ethel Glaisher), Rebecca Front (Francis), etc.
Mandeville Films, FilmNation Entertainment, Amazon Studios
Year of release 2019
IMDb website

The film “The Aeronauts” begins with the moment when a hot air balloon with two passengers is about to take off. Onlookers gathered around him, eager to witness the spectacular event. In the basket of the aircraft are two brave heroes who promised the public that they could change the history of mankind. When the show ends and the ball begins to rise, challenges appear that hinder scientific discoveries.

The film is based on a real flight that took place in 1862. Then a meteorologist named James Glaisher ventured into the air, planning to break the world record and also conduct observations of the upper atmosphere. It was an extremely risky journey that could have cost Glacier his life. Everything worked out thanks to the efforts of his companion, the experienced aeronaut Henry Tracy Coxwell, who supervised the movement of the balloon.

Oddly enough, you won’t see Coxwell in the film. Following new cinema trends, he was replaced with a female character played by Felicity Jones. This was the decision of director Tom Harper (directed the series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) and screenwriter Jack Thorne (worked on the series His Dark Materials).


The filmmakers wrote the script with a fearless heroine in it. She became a collective character reflecting the experience of female aeronauts. This is pretty good, but not at the cost of such a substitution. But, alas, the basket would have been cramped for the three main characters, so poor fellow Coxwell was not invited there, and his exploits were attributed to a non-existent person.

Knowing this, the film should not be perceived as a historical film adaptation, but rather as a spectacular film, thanks to which you can go on a visual aerial journey. This is true – the film was shot using an IMAX camera, so it will make a good impression on the appropriate screen.


As for the leading actors, Eddie Redmayne, who played scientist James Glaisher, has already starred with Felicity Jones. The actors played the main roles in the film “Stephen Hawking’s Universe” (The Theory of Everything). In the new film, the actors have less dramatic performances, however, their characters also go through a number of trials. They fight for life, enter into conflicts and quickly switch to external factors that frighten and delight the passengers of the balloon.

Both actors fit well into the atmosphere of the second half of the 19th century, corresponding to the manners of those years. Redmayne is more suited to historical films, in which he plays enthusiastic and somewhat reckless characters. Something similar has already happened in the actor’s other films, but this does not prevent him from doing his job well. The same can be said about Felicity Jones, who demonstrates courage and endurance.


It is worth noting that the plot of the film is not limited to one flight. The writers dilute the most intense moments with memories of how the central characters decided to join forces. It all started with the hero Eddie Redmayne, for whom it was important to prove to skeptics that meteorology has a scientific basis.

There is no special intrigue in the flashbacks, so they don’t particularly enliven the film. In many ways, the script repeats the clichés of other films that tell stories of great discoveries. Therefore, it is most interesting to watch the scenes taking place in a hot air balloon – there the heroes will have to experience the variety of physical difficulties that a person faces when rising to great heights.


The film “The Aeronauts” shows an adventurous and beautiful (thanks to computer graphics) adventure. At the same time, it has a predictable background, lacking enthusiasm, and a distortion of the real story. Despite this, the film is quite suitable for family viewing in the cinema, where you can appreciate the spectacular scenes.


the film promises a beautiful spectacle if you go see it in IMAX

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