Monday, January 27, 2014

Amelia (2009) [PG] ***

This biopic on legendary female aviator Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) focuses on the last ten years of her life - between 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his daring nonstop solo trans-Atlantic flight, and 1937, when Earhart (pronounced AIR-hart) tragically disappeared while crossing the Pacific Ocean during an historic around-the-world flight, accompanied by her navigator Fred Noonan (Christopher Eccleston).

Earhart had begun flying in 1921 and two years later had flown her biplane to a world-record altitude. In 1928 publisher and promoter George Putnam (Richard Gere) convinced Earhart that she should accompany pilots Bill Stultz (Joe Anderson) and Slim Gordon (Aaron Abrams) on a nonstop trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales; upon their return they were feted with an NYC ticker-tape parade and a White House reception. Earhart was dubbed Lady Lindy because of her physical resemblance to Lindbergh. She wrote a book, went on a lecture tour and endorsed clothing and luggage. She promoted aviation, became the first woman to fly solo across the North American continent and back, and entered competitive air racing. In 1931, Earhart married Putnam; it was a turbulent marriage during which Earhart had an affair with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). In 1932 she flew an historic nonstop solo trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland, one of many long-distance flight records she would hold.

The most compelling thing about this film is the breathtaking cinematography. The screenplay is uninspired with no memorable dialogue, the pacing is glacial, the music is banal, and there's practically no chemistry between Swank and either Gere or McGregor, with both men simply phoning in their performances. In the end, we've learned little about any of the main characters, or about the technical challenges that Earhart and her contemporary aviators faced. If you enjoy period dramas about aviation, like The Aviator, if you are a forgiving fan of Hilary Swank, or if you are fascinated by the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart, you will probably appreciate Amelia. Over the past twenty years, extensive archaeological investigations have been conducted on Nikumaroro Island (formerly Gardner Island) and the artifacts uncovered provide strong evidence that Earhart and Noonan crash-landed on the island, were marooned as castaways and died on the island. 

Labels: biography, drama, flying, romance, tragedy    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 37/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=44, viewers=56)    
Wikipedia - Amelia Earhart

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