Saturday, 19 September 2020
Thursday, 05 November 2009 00:00

amelia_poster_00It would be a challenging thing to tell a “triumphant” story that everyone knows does not have a “triumphant” ending and keep the audience compelled. Famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart was always up for a challenge, but unfortunately the filmmakers have let her down with this plodding drama.

Amelia tells the story of Earhart’s rise to fame as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and later, attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Of course we all know how that flight ended – she never made it to her final destination. The specifics on her disappearance somewhere over the Pacific Ocean are still debated, but it’s a known fact that navigational errors caused her to miss a crucial fuel stop on a tiny island. Presumably she ran out of fuel and crashed.

amelia_stillLike I said, hard to tell a triumphant story with that kind of ending. But Earhart’s life was indeed a triumph in many other ways. In the 1930’s she was one of the forerunners of women’s liberation and was truly a visionary for her day. As I did research for this review, I found out more and more about Earhart’s very interesting life, but it would have been nice if the movie had conveyed this better. Overall, it’s a rather boring film for such an extraordinary person.

I think the main fault of the film is that it continuously jumps back and forth through time between counting down Amelia’s flight around the globe, her publicity events and romantic life. Telling the story this way makes it feel more detached, like there is no present tense. It’s like a series of continuous flashbacks or one really long movie preview. There are only a few moments that feel really authentic and those are due more to the skill of the performers.

ameliakj09-06-25Hilary Swank does a flawless job of transforming herself. It’s what made her famous when she played a girl disguised as a boy in Boys Don’t Cry. As Amelia her toothy grin, chopped hair and confident but somewhat shy demeanor truly seem to embody the spirit of the famous pilot. She was the right choice, with the wrong script.

This isn’t a bad movie it’s just a bland movie. Nice filming, solid acting, but no spark. Even the love stories fall flat. Amelia’s marriage to her publicist G.P. Putnam (Richard Gere) must have been full of fire in real life. He asked her to marry him six times before she finally agreed, and even then wouldn’t take his name. She had a passionate affair with an aviation teacher named Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), but even this lacks any spark of romance on screen. It felt like these people were barely in the same room together, let alone that they would fall into bed.

Amelia is the life of a very interesting woman told in a very bland and uninteresting way. It is a competent film but, clocking in at two hours long, it would have been nice to feel more of an emotional connection.