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The Aviator

The Diva's review of
The Aviator (2004)

The Aviator
Rated PG -13; running time of 168 minutes
Genre: Drama
Written By: John Logan
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C. Reilly, Kate Beckinsale, Adam Scott, Alec Baldwin, Ian Holm, Alan Alda


The Digest

Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCarpio) is young and seemingly reckless millionaire who has inherited all of his money from the tool and dye company his father started. But young Howard has other plans – big plans. He wants to make a movie that dramatizes World War I. He embarks on a mission to make the greatest war film of all time and as a result, the filming takes3 years and is so far over budget that it threatens to bankrupt his company. He doesn’t care. In the process of making this movie, he come up with several way to innovate the way airplanes are made. This starts a love affair with airplanes that stays with him to his death 50 years later.

The film, “Hell’s Angels” is a success and solidifies him as the producer he is the toast of the town and he plays it to the hilt. When he is not tinkering with his planes, he is bedding starlet after starlet. Most notably Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) But because his nature, he can be infuriating and ends up rubbing people the wrong way. Especially in his later years when he begins to concentrate on his airplane business.

During World War II he secures a government contract to build planes for the war effort. He nearly kills himself in an experimental plane and loses that contract. But that doesn’t stop him from going against TWA the airline monopoly that wants to continue to be so. But Hughes wants a piece of the action. Angering the wrong people, he finds himself on the ugly side of congressional hearings.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, he is slowly going insane. He has always had issues, but with his life spirally out of control, his episodes are longer and more frequent. If he can’t get his head together he is must assuredly going to lose the congressional hearings.

The Dish

I really liked this movie. It is a movie-lovers film. For a movie that is almost 3 hours long, you don’t seem to notice that at all. It is pays homage to Hollywood’s heyday and it was a delightful walk through the past.That said, I found it very surprising that there was not one mention of Hughes having syphilis. *This* is the main reason for his often bizarre behavior. It went untreated and became neuro-syphilis. The movie would have you believe that he is completely controlled by OCD and that his mother is the reason for his obsession with cleanliness. Of course this irritates me. The mother is blamed again.

It is also my understanding that he and Hepburn really only dated for a short while. There also was barely a mention (except for the one girl) that he dated teenagers more often than not. And they left out that he was married for 4 years in the 20s. They didn't even touch upon his racism. I worked for The Howard Hughes Undergraduate Science Enrichment Program and we used to joke that he must be turning in his grave because his money was going to women and minorities. I would have liked to the movie touch more upon his demons in a truthful fashion and not sugar coat his life.

These omissions were enough to make me consider lowering its rating. I get angry when a film maker blatantly deceives the audience – but the movie is still very entertaining. It is really what moviemaking is about it. Not to dis serious and well thought out films. I mean that if the folks who made Hollywood were going to make a movie today – it would be made like The Aviator.

I also loved every single performance. Cate Blanchett and Adam Baldwin really stood out among a group of spectacular performances. If Ray had been released another year or if it had been sub-par, The Aviator would be getting my votes.

The Directive

This movie is best seen on the big screen.


 A sweeping movie that flies and soars on the screen.

Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2004
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