Friday, October 23, 2009

Amelia stalls out on the runway as a Hilary Swank vehicle

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 8:00 PM

click to enlarge AMELIA: Hilary Swank as the early 20th-century aviatrix
  • AMELIA: Hilary Swank as the early 20th-century aviatrix

It’s difficult to imagine that Amelia would exist if Hilary Swank didn't already have two Best Actress Oscars and a striking resemblance to the toothy, tomboyish Amelia Earhart. Director Mira Nair offers a sleek but perfunctory biopic of the famed aviatrix that seems driven more by an ambition for Academy Awards than any real interest in Earhart’s accomplishments.

Rarely does a film that so clearly admires its subject also make her look so bad. Nair mostly seems intrigued by Earhart as a 1930s feminist role model and celebrity. Thanks to her publisher, promoter, and eventual husband George Putman (Richard Gere), Earhart parlays her fame as “Lady Lindy” into speaking engagements and advertising deals. Amelia nearly suggests that Earhart was little more than a show horse with modest aviation talent. The film emphasizes her missteps more than her achievements. For instance, Earhart commanded her first transatlantic flight, but didn't actually fly the plane. There’s an unintentionally hilarious moment during the journey when the aircraft hits some turbulence and Earhart almost falls through an unlocked door.

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(Photo Courtesy Ken Woroner)

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