Top positive review
Very Good Movie, Shows Descent into Mental Illness
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2020
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.