Review by Jack Foley
MIRA Nair’s rose-tinted biopic of legendary 1930s American pilot Amelia Earhart was roundly criticised upon its US release for a bland approach and historical inaccuracies.
In truth, it’s not as bad as some of those reviews suggested. But it’s also not particularly memorable either.
In real-life, Earhart was as inspirational and she was controversial. Her high-flying achievements inspired countless fellow female flyers and saw her become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
She lectured others and even visited the White House to ask for amendments to women’s rights.
But she was also romantically involved with two men – her husband, George Putnam, and the flamboyant Gene Vidal.
Nair’s film touches on all of these elements via flashbacks that are framed by Earhart’s doomed around the world flight, but seldom comes close to tapping into the complexity of the woman she is studying.
Rather, her biopic is a celebration of Earhart’s indefatiguable spirit and her numerous accomplishments that suggests only half the story has been told.
Hence, while Hilary Swank is typically good value in the central role, she’s not really given too much to play with, while Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor as, respectively, Putnam and Vidal are extremely short-changed as the doting objects of her affection.
The film lumbers for long periods and appears to be going through the motions, lacking either the inspirational flourishes or the emotional punch to really leave a lasting impression.
Indeed, it only really soars during the flying sequences, which are often beautifully realised and one of Amelia‘s noteable strengths.
Ultimately, however, the endeavour feels like a missed opportunity that seldom fires the imagination as it should.
Running time: 111mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: March 8, 2010