Reelstories's Blog
A dream it's true, but I'd see it through…

OSCAR 2010 REVIEW: Amelia

You know how it happens during the Oscars; cine fans are normally spoilt for choice. Expectations run high especially for ones that have bagged a nomination. But sorry to disappoint you guys, this aviation film by director Mira Nair (based on the book East To The Dawn-The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler) is shockingly unsatisfactory, dragging and plain.

Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank plays Amelia in a role that’s seems too superficial and sketchy. But the actress surely looks her part with her hairstyle and leather jackets.

Amelia’s rise from a bubbling wannabe to national figure is compelling. It is interesting to note how promoter and publishing magnate George Putnam (Richard Gere) takes her under his wing.

For a biopic, filmmaker Mira Nair tries to get into details of her early life as how Amelia Earhart was one of the earliest examples of the marketable celebrity, how she used to sell everything from cigarettes to travel luggage et al. But sadly, we don’t really get to know much about her growing up in Kansas, her background and how she actually fell in love with flying.

There’s hardly any story development. Events follow without any rhyme or reason. For example, we suddenly find Putnam kissing Amelia, and then they’re married! Again, she’s having an affair with aeronautics executive Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor) but her husband lures her away from him overnight and buys her an 80,000-dollar aircraft. The episodes don’t connect seamlessly and gives you a jolt at every step.

Richard Gere as Putnam acts like a pro, even when the script requires him to stare into blankness muttering dumb lines like “Home is wherever you are, Amelia.” By the final scenes, the couple has arrived at a mutual adoration, which at least feels real.

Amelia doesn’t score high on drama either. It seems fine when Earthart soars higher and higher in the sky but when she returns to earth, the plot seems like a soap opera.

Yet for the all-bland dialogues, cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh captures some brilliant shots making Amelia, at the very least, watchable.

For a woman who thinks sky is the limit, literally, one thing Amelia lacks is excitement.

The film strives hard to build suspense in its last 20 minutes, but sadly enough, it could not hold on for long, as the ending is predictable.

There’s a scene where a reporter questions Amelia if she’s a better celebrity than a pilot. We find a startled Amelia fumbling for an answer. And the question keeps on haunting till the end.

VERDICT: If you think it’s a film about challenge and woman power, you are seriously mistaken. We wonder what Amelia would have done if Putnam weren’t there for her, offering his heart and money. It somehow failed to move us.

Rating: 1.5/ 5


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