13 January 2010

Review: "Amelia"

Has there been a film this season whose hopes for Oscar were erased as quickly as Amelia's, the Amelia Earhart biopic starring Hilary Swank? It currently has a 14% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and has completely disappeared from all awards talk. Its (Hilary Swank, mostly) hope for Oscar fizzled even more quickly than the star-filled Nine that only managed 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is still amassing a few nominations. Amelia was directed by Mira Nair, whose prior films Salaam Bombay! and Monsoon Wedding were nominated for Academy and Golden Globe awards. It stars two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart, and Swank acted as the film's executive producer. Telling the story of a real person can be very difficult, and it is a challenge to choose which elements to focus on. The film fails to connect Amelia with the audience and the film struggles to decide whether or not to depict Amelia as a strong-willed woman or just the woman behind G.P. Putnam (Richard Gere). I had such difficulty making it through the entire film and almost turned it off after ten minutes. costars Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal (father of Gore, who supposedly had an affair with Amelia) and Mia Wasikowska (In Treatment) as an underused Elinor Smith, a fellow pilot.

The film begins on July 2, 1937, which is the day Amelia Earhart disappeared during her around-the-world flight. The film then reverts back to a young Amelia, as we watch her become enamored by a plane flying above her as a young child. She meets published G.P. Putnam who has just published Lindbergh's book We, and he is eager to have Amelia become the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia is pleased until she finds that he only wants her to be passenger, while the world thinks she is the pilot. This particular flight does not garner the fame that she wanted, and she sets out to create her own aviation records. The side story of the film is her relationship with Putnam, and their marriage, which tries to make the film a love story that just ruins the film. Amelia eventually crosses the Atlantic solo, and during her affair with Gene Vidal she decides to head out on a round the world trip.

Amelia is full of cliches and Hilary Swank is never able to make Amelia Earhart a likable character. Hilary Swank was mesmerizing in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby, and knowing that she has real acting talent it is incredibly disappointing that she comes across so flat in this film. The film was dull and boring, there was nothing in the film worth watching. The talents of all the actors were wasted and the story was uninspired. Amelia's marriage to Putnam in the film seems forced, even though it happened in real life. Hilary Swank and Richard Gere have so little chemistry that it is not surprising she has an affair with Gene Vidal, but nothing in the film makes you want to care. Amelia is an incredible bore and a poorly made film, and it makes me wonder if Amelia Earhart's life was truly this uninspiring.

My rating: 0.5 stars out of 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment