film review: Amelia

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Finally saw Amelia tonight in the Fenway with my friend Robert. It’s only showing at four theatres in Boston. The film has had little promotion and has had mixed reviews but I still needed to see a film about a pioneering woman that stars two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank [Million Dollar Baby, Freedom Writers] and is directed by Mira Nair [The Namesake, Vanity Fair].

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The script is weak at times but the scenes of Amelia Earhart flying are expansive, lovely and sometimes frightening. During her last flight, though you know the outcome, you cannot help but be at the edge of your seat with your heart racing. Nair has done an excellent job directing the landscape views but she’s not as strong in the more intimate moments.

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Hilary Swank is phenomenal per usual as the daring, unconventional and trailblazing pilot. She delves into this role as Amelia Earhart and through her eyes we see her attraction to aviation: the adrenaline rush, the freedom, the independence and the power. Amelia tells George Putnam [a terribly miscast Richard Gere] that she’s not the marrying type. That she wants freedom. He’s jealous of her and wants her for himself and she ends up marrying him and they have an unusual love and marriage. It works for them. Amelia does have a long-term love affair with the charming West Point graduate Gene Vidal [a swoon worthy Ewan McGregor] who with Amelia’s help became Commerce Department’s Bureau of Air Commerce. Putnam is the ultimate PR rep for Amelia and at times quite smarmy. There’s too much focus on their relationship and not enough of Amelia’s professional life in Amelia and that is a massive detriment to the film and to Swank’s talents.

Overall we enjoyed the film and would give it a B+.

STEELE SAYS: SEE IT IN THE THEATRE

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