Movie Review: Amelia (Hillary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor) 2009

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Drama


Amelia Earhart (Swank) was a free spirited girl who loved to fly.  She inherited her love of flying from her dad who used to fly planes while she rode horses in Kansas.  She became a woman and the love of flight never left her.  Even though she met and married reporter George Putnam, (Gere) flying was her first love.  Putnam, who wrote a book about Charles Lindburgh, was first her husband, and then her publicist.  Amelia suggested to Putnam that she wanted to fly across the Atlantic.  Putnam said that a solo flight across the Atlantic was far too dangerous for a woman, and suggested that she fly as a passenger and take credit for flying the plane later in the biography he had planned.   Amelia went on the flight as a passenger and made it to Wales.  Not satisfied with that accomplishment, Amelia flies solo across the Atlantic, and becomes world famous.  She sets up aviation races for women, she flies Eleanor Roosevelt around Washington DC at night, and she recommends her friend Gene Vidal ( McGregor)  to be Director of the Bureau of Air Commerce.  Earhart had one more dream to accomplish, flying solo across the world.  Even though Putnam was initially against circumnavigating the globe, he bought Amelia a plane.  Vidal continued to warn Amelia against the flight.  Earhart was lost at sea, her body was never recovered.

This is a bland movie, any excitement that could have been generated by this movie was sucked out of it.  There’s plenty of blame to go around.  There’s Hillary Swank, who plays Amelia with all the excitement of a girl scout.  This was a daredevil, a groundbreaker, a role model for millions of women to emulate, but Swank seems more concerned about getting her accent and cadence right, and not capturing the spirit of the woman she chose to play.  She is a million miles away from Million Dollar Baby.    Equally to blame is Richard Gere who sounds like a reporter on those old newsreel films, staccato voice and all.  But most to blame is director Mira Nair, the film lacks pacing, it has no focus. It jumps from her professional life to her private life and back again, it feels like a highlight reel.  Nair could have chosen to focus on any aspect of Earhart’s life, her international travel, her fame, or  her alleged  affair with Vidal. Instead we get a mish-mash filled with drippy, sentimental and outright stupid dialogue.  Gene Vidal son Gore says in the movie “Why don’t you marry my dad?”  When Earhart says she is already married he says, “You can marry my dad too.” Stupid.

Amelia.  A lost opportunity.


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