- Director:Mira Nair
- Cast:Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Hilary Swank, Mia Wasikowska
- Release Date:November 12, 2009
- Running time:111 minutes
- Film Worth:$10.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
The period detail is brilliantly brought to life, but the film is superficial, lacking the passion of its heroine.
Hilary Swank stars as Amelia Earhart, the legendary aviatrix and feminist icon who, in 1937, vanished during the last leg of her attempt to circumnavigate the globe by plane. Swank is virtually a dead ringer for Earhart. Sharing a tall, slender physique and boyishly fine features, Swank inhabits the role, however, more with a sense of duty than passion. Similarly, Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay, The Namesake) directs the biopic with a reverent and restrained hand, imbuing her film with warm hues while maintaining a cool distance. The sensational period costumes and sets, and the lush, romantic score, meanwhile, pair beautifully with the film's breathtaking aerial vistas.
The hagiographical approach doesn't stop with Earhart. Amelia's husband, George P. Putnam (Richard Gere) was a publishing tycoon and public relations manager. Essentially an upper-class huckster, he managed her fame and then creatively capitalised on it at every turn. In one early instance, he confesses that he stashed a product on Amelia's plane, and then asks her to endorse it. Whenever she complains about the gruelling lecture tours and constant product endorsements, he counters that aviation is an expensive pursuit and all this is necessary to keep her aloft. We even see him urging one of Earhart's friendly rivals to throw a race. These deeds, however, are less dastardly when performed by a kind eyed, charming silver fox such as Richard Gere. A less sympathetic actor in this role would certainly have cast his behaviour in a different light.
While Nair is a sensitive filmmaker, the story she tells, using a screenplay by Ronald Bass based on two biographies, proves surprisingly superficial. We never see how Amelia goes from being an awestruck kid in a field to becoming a record-breaking pilot. Nair could have given us at least one scene where she monkeys with an engine or tests her equipment.