In recent years, Hollywood has pumped out several excellent movies based on real historical figures. Milk, Ray, and The Aviator are just a few successful attempts at mixing history with entertainment. Unfortunately, the new biopic Amelia does not even close to being on the same level as any of those movies.
Amelia is a drama focusing on the accomplishments of the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart. Directed by Mira Nair, the film is based primarily on two autobiographies about Earhart-East to the Dawn and The Sound of Wings.
The directing in this movie by Nair is horrible and one of the biggest problems with Amelia is that it feels more like a boring history lecture than an entertaining drama. The transition from one scene to another is pretty bad and the movie felt more like a timeline of the events in Earhart’s life rather than an in-depth look at the personality and soul of the character.
Another issue with the direction is that Nair plays it safe and fails to address important questions such as what inspired Earhart to be an aviator or why she wants to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, the movie focuses on plot and leaves out character development.
The storyline for Amelia is also a mess.
The movie does not have one major plot point to revolve around but consists of a bunch of subplots, confusing audiences and diluting the overall message.
In the beginning of the film, Earhart (played by Hilary Swank) wants to become the first female to fly over the Atlantic Ocean and she meets George Putnam (played by Richard Gere), who becomes her manager and husband, helps her to accomplish this and makes her famous in the process.
Earhart feels like a fraud for achieving fame for flying over the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger rather than as a pilot, so she sets out to accomplish this event again as the pilot.
Another subplot focuses on how Earhart’s fame inspired and gave hope to the poor and unemployed during the Great Depression. But 10 to 15 minutes later, the idea is completely abandoned for the rest of the film. Finally, the female aviator sets out to be the first woman to fly around the world until her plane vanishes whilew over the Pacific Ocean.
On a positive note, Swank does not disappoint in her performance as Earhart.
She makes her character charming, funny, and likable. In his supporting role as Mr. Putnam, Gere is below average and the chemistry between him and Swank is terrible. They are not believable as a couple.
Ewan McGregor does a pretty good job in a supporting role as Gene Vidal, who gave Earhart a job in the Federal Aviation Administration and eventually had an affair with the pilot. But, the chemistry here is awful as well, mostly because the film only skims the surface of their affair and never explains why Earhart cheats on Putnam and then ultimately decides to go back to him.
Overall, Amelia comes across as a very boring and conservative film. Everything from the writing to the directing including sometimes the acting, the film is ineffective. History buffs would be better off sticking to the History Channel.