Pilot Amelia Wren and scientist James Glaisher attempt to reach heights no person has ever been before in a gas balloon, making discoveries that were not known.
The film starts with based on actual events, so I wasn’t sure which parts were true until now. I have just checked and obviously the change was adding in a female character which just shows that you now cannot have historical events actually shown in film. Because let’s face it the majority of historical events won’t really have women in a starring role.
In all honesty if I had known that before going to see the film I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Although I did find a female pilot in that time was a little bit odd and it appears that I was right thinking just that as it wasn’t true at all. James Glaisher was real though and he did make discoveries so that at least is true, when the record-breaking balloon flight got to as high as 35,000ft on September 5th 1862.
They somehow manage to make being on a balloon rather exciting and some moments that you will not quite believe in all honesty as Amelia in particular is thrown out and climbs it many times, especially when she is almost frozen and obviously James just lies their almost dead. So not only did they gender flip the character but they then made her pretty much a superhero. Why all the fake things? Something I really don’t understand.
I guess something I can be positive about is that I didn’t find Eddie Redmayne has annoying as usual in this one and thought he did a pretty good job overall. Felicity Jones was very over the top with a character who quite frankly did not fit 1862, but no wonder really. The pair do work very well together though so I can understand why they were both cast together again after The Theory of Everything.
Something I did find quite impressive though was that the time they were in the balloon seemed to match the time of the film, like everything was sort of real time in flight. Which as as viewer makes you feel a lot more involved. So while the film does have some good moments, the fact it is well shall we say very nice and doesn’t rely on a love story is good but the whole gender swap for the character ruined the historical event to be brutally honest.
Performances are strong enough from Jones and Redmayne. With some nice brief moments from Himesh Patel, Anne Reid and Tom Courtenay, all of which have very small roles and don’t even feel like supporting characters. At least though with this they are shown as important to James but not too much to overthrow the whole point of the film being the flight. Which was groundbreaking for science and humanity travelling to heights that had never been reached before. I couldn’t help but think about when you are on a plane at those heights and how cold it is outside, how did anyone survive on a balloon?!?! It also made me realise that I have never wanted to or intend to go on a hot air balloon!