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Movie Review - The Aviator (2004 - United States)

Updated on June 16, 2012

Screen biography at its best

What a great picture! There are surprisingly few films about moviemakers, and this one is a nice addition to that brief list since Howard Hughes produced and directed the amazing Hell's Angels and Scarface , two early talkies that have deservedly become classics. His passion for aviation is at the core of this picture, however, as well as his passion for life.

Hughes of course was turned into the world's richest nutcase by what we now understand as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and his slide into total insanity was greeted with the morbid glee our culture reserves for the misfortunes of the rich and famous--no doubt Hollywood's meat grinder of rumor, scrutiny and hype played its role in pushing him over that edge. The movie postulates that an overly protective childhood played a role, as well, although most professionals agree that it's genetics that is the real culprit.

Leonard DiCaprio channeling Howard Hughes


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Outstanding cinematography makes The Aviator a visual delight

Martin Scorsese gives us the best retro, two-color imagery I have ever seen as a loving homage to the celluloid of the '20's and '30's, and the look of this picture is so lovely throughout that it's breathtaking at times. If you, like me, adore old movies, you will be overwhelmed by the color production. It’s just amazing.


Leonardo DiCaprio makes The Aviator a stand out

Leonardo DiCaprio turns in a finely textured performance and his channeling of Hughes is wonderfully eerie--not so Kate Blanchett's Katherine Hepburn, I'm afraid; she tries too hard and her performance becomes a major distraction. Even so, I highly recommend this picture--a tragic story, but life lived big so often is , and the poignancy of Hughes' slip into reclusive paranoia cannot destroy the joy with which he grasped life.

Highly recommended.

Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.

(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at

Genre: Drama

Rated: PG-13 – See Full Rating

Running Time: 2 hr. 46 min.

In Theaters: Dec 17, 2004 Wide

On DVD: May 24, 2005

Box Office:$102.6M


Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Written By: John Logan


Leonardo DiCaprio - Howard Hughes

Cate Blanchett - Katharine Hepburn

Kate Beckinsale - Ava Gardner

John C. Reilly - Noah Dietrich

Alec Baldwin - Juan Trippe

Alan Alda - Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster

Ian Holm - Professor Fitz

Danny Huston - Jack Frye

Gwen Stefani - Jean Harlow

Jude Law - Errol Flynn

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    • DIYmyOmy profile image

      DIYmyOmy 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Leonardo DiCaprio has made some really amazing movies; do you have a favorite?


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