In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.
The Aeronauts isn't really historically accurate, but it does give you the most vivid sense imaginable for what it felt like to be British meteorological adventurers James Glaisher, then 53, and Henry Coxwell, 43, who barely escaped death in 1862 when they were the first humans to ride a hot-air balloon seven miles above the earth, where jets fly today and the air is minus 22 degrees. They had a smashing view — but Glaisher, making scientific notes about his skin turning funny colors, began to pass out from altitude sickness and tried to yell to Coxwell, only to discover that his mouth, arms and head wouldn't move, and his mind was freezing up, too.