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Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2019
There was nothing in the film I didn't already know, in fact they omitted things that would have made it much more interesting. Hughes was a womanizer, they barely touched on this. I couldn't stand Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Hepburn. She looked old enough to be Hughes mother! She's 5 yrs older than DiCaprio and she looks even older, while DiCaprio looks younger than the 30 yrs he was at the time. Hepburn was 2 yrs younger than Hughes at only 28 in 1935 when she's first introduced in the film. Blanchett looks 40 (was 35 at the time). Her attempt at replicating Hepburn's unusual voice needed a lot more work, her appearance hardly favored Hepburn. I greatly disliked her in any scene. As a 1930s film buff, none of the Actresses used to portray the film stars of the era resembled them! Nor did Jude law come close to looking or sounding like Errol Flynn! At nearly 3 hrs long, it needed more editing and I sped past several scenes that lingered too long without contributing anything to the storyline. The best scene was the crash landing, which was riveting, can't make that statement about any other scene. The ending failed to give the film closure, but I was glad it was over!
The Aviator is a beautifully filmed, almost epic film about Howard Hughes in the 1930s and 1940s. Lots of plush, opulent scenes and a story line that keeps your interest. Anyone over 50 knows the history, companies, and movie stars this film covers.
It also does a very good job of showing you how Howard Hughes' mental illness gradually increased. The Aviator makes you pivot between feeling sorry for Howard Hughes and wondering how anyone could put up with him. People treated him poorly (the Katherine Hepburn family was despicable!) and he was difficult too.
I didn't give this movie five stars because it simply went on too long (almost 3 hours), because some of the actor portrayals weren't believable, and because some scenes just weren't plausible. Leonard DiCaprio just didn't look like Howard Hughes. Alec Baldwin as the Pan Am CEO was just too pretty. Congressional Committee Chairmen don't let witnesses at a Congressional hearing hijack the hearing (they especially don't let the witness start questioning them instead!).
This movie also implies Howard Hughes' mother caused his mental illness, and that's just not believable either. The more you watch The Aviator, the more you suspect Howard Hughes' mental illness was organic. And his mother just aggravated whatever he was born with.
But this is still a four star movie, and any five star rating isn't unreasonable. The Aviator makes you want to see the next film showing Howard Hughes in the second half of his life. Because The Aviator does a very good job with the first half.
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2020
Leonardo Di Caprio plays the famous Howard Hughes in The Aviator directed by Martin Scorsese. The film highlights the genius and eccentricities of the millionaire.
Hughes had an uncompromising vision for his movies, his planes, etc. His problem was that he had no idea how to manage them. His movie the Hell’s Angels for instance was costing him $25,000 a day. He didn’t care because he wasn’t making the movie for the movie going audience but for himself. This was the result of his obsessive personality which progressively got worse.
Scorsese of course is a master storyteller and creates some memorable scenes. There’s one where Hughes burns all his clothes. It was symbolic of Hughes’ life slowly going up in flames.
The main drawback is the length of the film. It’s almost three hours long. It really tried my patience. Still it was a good story that used events from throughout his life and weaved them together. C
The Aviator is a 2004 American epic biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by John Logan. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, and Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner. The supporting cast features Ian Holm, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law as Errol Flynn, Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow, Kelli Garner as Faith Domergue, Matt Ross, Willem Dafoe, Alan Alda, and Edward Herrmann. Based on the 1993 non-fiction book Howard Hughes: The Secret Life by Charles Higham, the film depicts the life of Howard Hughes, an aviation pioneer and director of the film Hell's Angels. The film portrays his life from 1927 to 1947 during which time Hughes became a successful film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to severe obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).
Itching to put viewers in Hughes’ shoes ( or rather, behind his lens), Scorsese designed each year in ‘The Aviator’ to look the way a colored movie from the featured time periods would appear. This was achieved through digitally enhanced post-production and replicates the appearance of both Cinecolor and two-strip Technicolor. Grainy sepia tones are used for sequences from 1927 to 1930 with bright and vivid colors highlighting the Jazz age of the late thirties and forties. Giving as much attention to detail in the costuming department (which, #funfact, had a budget loan of $2 Million alone), the cinematography and carefully ladled direction serve as adminicles on a quest for authenticity with admiration and equity.
Prior to filming DiCaprio prepared by spending time with the real life Jane Russell (whose first role was in Hughes’ 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑶𝒖𝒕𝒍𝒂𝒘) to hear her memories and to get an impression of Hughes. Awestruck by DiCaprio following this visit - Hughes’ reputation as a reserved but extremely bull-headed man is captured on screen with the longevity of poise and ill-fated intensity. Stealing scenes at times with a desire for credibility in stride, Blanchette's cheerfully stylized performance as Hepburn makes her more than deserving of the Oscar she received for it( which, funny enough, also makes her the first person to win one for playing a real-life Oscar winner). Balancing moments in which Hughes and Hepburn act like oil and water with those in which they seem compatible beyond Compare: a relationship muddled by codependency finds Its way on screen and avoids being an out-of-place contraption.
Ultimately a biopic intended to capture Hughes’ influence on the cinematic and aviation industry - it is a relief to know that these are shown rather accurately. Hell’s Angels (which did really go massively over-budget) stands out as a pioneering effort in the realm of realism and special effects. Much of Hughes involvement as it relates to Aviation is oversimplified, but his achievements (like breaking records) and setbacks (like potentially life-threatening crashes - which he was in a total of four) are given a fair chance to shine. What isn’t addressed as comprehensively is Hughs’ tumultuous relationships and his ongoing struggle with mental illnesses. The tendency for an intimate partners to distance themselves as a result of Hughes’ “quirks” and his obsession with perfection is intermediately dangled, but ‘The Aviator’ omits the fact that he was married twice during the periods covered (amongst other things). In addition to this the origin and development of his OCD is lightly sanitized as being related to his upbringing and there is no mention of factors that now reportedly excavated this condition; in example are the fact that Hughes contracted syphilis and also became addicted to pain medication following a significant injury, but I imagine a story with these elements present would be lacking in sympathy despite being garnished with understanding and bedridden insight.
All things considered: Scorsese's aptitude for treating most easily polarized figures as percontation and not absolutes is here in full display. It is through a substantially collaborative effort that Hughes’ intricacy is feasibly digested, and it is a delightfully rendered reminder that taking the risk of falling with experience is better than not reaching for great heights at all. Far from being the most accurate portrayal of Hughes’ life with the exclusion of many defining facts: ‘The Aviator’ captures the essence of who Hughes was, who Hughes wanted to be, and why his story should matter.
5.0 out of 5 starsMasterful performance by DiCaprio
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 31, 2018
Brilliant film charting the life of Howard Hughes. Brilliant acting from Leonardo DiCaprio. Although it is quite a long film, best part of 2 hrs, you get so engrossed in the storyline you don't notice the time. Leonardo has done his research when depicting Hughes' OCD, he portrays it well and helps us to see how this debilitating condition can take over a persons life. Well worth watching again and again.
4.0 out of 5 starsGreat performance by Cate Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 24, 2015
Although it is over 2 hours and 40 minutes, it almost feels quite short because of what's not in the film. It doesn't explore Howard Hughes' relationship with Cary Grant, nor Jean Simmons' reaction to him making a pass at her. What it does do is explore his relationship with Katherine Hepburn and Ava Gardner. There is also a good scene where he crashes on the rooftop of suburban houses in LA. It takes you through the painful process of descending at speed, the impact of crashing, the panic of trying to escape, and the terror of facing a ball of fire coming towards you. It's quite a good film, but I feel that there needs to be a film on Cary Grant and perhaps Bernard Herrmann as parts of the music sounded Herrmann-esque.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable film which captures the eccentric, exciting but, ultimately sad character of Howard Hughes, a man who seemed to have everything. Although the special CGI effects occasionally leave a lot to be desired, it does encapsulate the excitement of flying, having lots of money and designing and running an airline. Hughes, played well by Leonardo diCaprio, is shown to be a very talented aircraft designer, test pilot and film-maker, even if he did have some obsessions. I particularly enjoyed Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Katharine Hepburn, one of his serious loves, and the accuracy with which she captured her voice. The scene defending "The Outlaw" is also highly amusing, both in its content and its portrayal. Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator" is a very enjoyable film which deals sympathetically with one of the legendary characters of his own profession, the aircraft industry and the financial markets. The scenes dealing with Hughes's life-long obsession with cleanliness are very moving, particularly as it increases and the final scenes are deeply poignant.
4.0 out of 5 starsAlmost an absolutely excellent film
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2012
First the negatives - Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes is a spectacular failure, not because he acts badly but because he just looks too damned young throughout the film to carry off the required gravitas needed for the role. No real history of Howard Hughes' technical genius is given. We get a small portion of where the OCD started but nothing about his fortune or his understanding of plane design. finally I don't think the film actually does justice to what he actually achieved. Other than that, the film is actually very good, they try to get the main facts of his life in the film (maybe a little disjointed but just read up about him and it all makes sense) and I actually think Leo does a good job of acting. Yes you do get a slight feeling of being cheated at the end because you just want so much more information and background but as with any film it needs to be edited to fit into a sensible timeframe. All in all maybe a little too much editing, maybe too little emphasis on the achievements of the man but a really good film