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Mainstream - Amelia

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Hillary Swank, Richard Gere, Christopher Eccleston
Directed by Mira Nair
Fox Home Entertainment 2010
111 minutes

Who was the first woman to fly solo around the world? Few people know the answer (see bottom of review) but many know the name Amelia Earhart. The Hillary Swank movie Amelia is a Spruce Goose: too big and heavy to fly. The money is there, the cinematography is there, but the life is not there. You never even feel Earhart is at the controls when she is flying. Amelia on DVD or Blu-ray is purely rental fodder if you have close to 2 hours to kill.

Hillary Swank plays Earhart as if she is channeling the spirit of Katharine Hepburn in her worse movies. Everybody else here is obviously acting. The scenes feel staged; this is especially true early on in the movie right after Putnam (Gere) says “Let me be clear” and Earhart turns towards him just the script told her to. The writing is particularly heavy handed. Right before that scene Putnam says, “You will be a star. And I will be nearby, a small particle of dust in your constellation.”).

The biggest problem in this movie is it fails to capture the sense of adventure Earhart must have had. The flight scenes are sometimes pretty but always fail to connect with the viewer.

Amelia is also a patchwork of scenes and the patchwork makes little sense. For example, Earhart’s confrontation with Bill after the plane fails to lift off. You know there is something behind this but have no clue what it is.

The relationship with George Putnam takes too much room in Amelia. Bits of story like Putnam menacing Earhart’s competitor in a cross-country race are there for no reason and go nowhere.

Much like its namesake Amelia will disappear and will never be heard from again. Unlike its namesake it will not be missed.

The answer is Jerrie Mock in 1964.

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