Stars: Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Himesh Patel, Phoebe Fox, Tom Courtenay
‘Theory of Everything’ stars Jones and Redmayne reunite for this visually gorgeous if fanciful slice of plucky posho porn. It begins at a London exhibition in 1862 where mild-mannered scientist James Glaisher (Redmayne) sits in a hot air balloon waiting impatiently for his co-pilot. When his fellow balloonist Amelia Wren (Jones) arrives, she makes her flashy entrance atop a carriage like an air-bound Boadicea, much to boffin Glaisher’s annoyance. Once they take to the air the story flashes back to chart their respective histories: Glaisher (a real historical figure) is a keen meteorologist who wants to be able predict the weather; Amelia (whose character is completely invented) is the widow of a valiant French balloonist. As they ascend to record breaking heights the film switches from the odd-couple romance it seemed to be building up to, to ‘Gravity’-style thrills as things begin to go wrong. Jones and Redmayne do their best with sketchily written characters - Redmayne’s Glaisher switches from cautious to deranged obsessive (semi-explained by the altitude) a little too abruptly. The effects at least are genuinely beautiful, the sequence where the aerial duo survey the London landscape is particularly wondrous, and the photography is suitably vertiginous (those with height issues may wait to catch it on the small screen), and while the climactic derring-do stretches credibility to breaking point, it’s exciting stuff nonetheless.