Not only is it a historically fascinating film, but The Aeronauts with Felicity Jones also delivers one powerful message to kids about the difference one person can make in the world. In a new interview with Bustle for its Awards Season issue, Jones opened up about why she is so proud of her newest film and the courageous character she portrays.
The Aeronauts is the new PG-13 adventure film starring Jones and her former Theory Of Everything co-star Eddie Redmayne. The film tells the story of a daring gas-balloon pilot named Amelia Wren (Jones) and a meteorologist named James Glaisher (Redmayne) in 19th century England who make history by flying higher than any other person has before. The story is based on reality; James Glaisher really did exist and really did manage to soar a whopping 37,000 feet (or seven miles) above the earth in a gas-balloon in 1862, roughly the same height as jets fly in modern times, according to the BBC.
It's an inspiring story on its own, but here's where things are different in The Aeronauts. The pilot who traveled with Glaisher was actually a man, but the filmmakers behind the new film made the conscious choice to change the pilot to a woman, a choice Jones told Bustle was a great one. "I don’t think the world suffers from having fewer white male stories," she said. "I think we’ve got a lot of those."
Jones' character is actually based on a real person, French pilot Sophie Blanchard, who flew gas-air balloons in the early 19th century. She was a trailblazer in her own right, flying solo long before any women or indeed, many men had even considered it a possibility. According to The Smithsonian magazine, Blanchard was just as famous for being an entertainer as her death-defying feats in the air, something Jones also brought to her character Wren and could inspire young women to realize they can do the same. They can be intelligent and courageous and charismatic and independent, just like Wren.
There's another element to The Aeronauts that Jones believes is important as well. She told Bustle that she sees the film as a "celebration of our planet, and how beautiful it can be if we don’t mess it up." Considering the sort of impact a young girl like Greta Thunberg, just 16 years old, is trying to make to protect the planet, the theme is more prescient than ever. The film features some real natural events that happened during historic flights, including a swarm of yellow butterflies, as well as some imagined ones.
The Aeronauts, which is available to stream on Amazon Prime, is exactly the sort of movie older kids should watch. A little bit of history, a little reminder that the planet is a beautiful place, and a lesson about carving your own path. What's better than that?