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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “‘Amelia’ a noble try at aviator’s life, but misses flight “


    Romantic scandals, planes and a post-female suffrage atmosphere make up Mira Nair’s latest film, “”Amelia.””

    The film is about Amelia Earhart, America’s flying sweetheart who suddenly disappeared while soaring over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. And that’s just the problem. When dealing with a film where the viewers already know the fate of the beloved characters, directors are expected to spice things up a bit.

    “”Amelia”” does no such thing.

    The film opens with Earhart, played by Hilary Swank, alongside her navigator, Fred Noonan, played by Christopher Eccleston, embarking on the last leg of their journey around the world. Nair continues to use this sequence as flashback material. However, intelligent audiences already know what horrific tragedies ensue.

    Cue to the 1920s. Earhart walks across a marble floor in a tomboyish getup and heads right to the office of George Putnam (Richard Gere), who promises to make her a star if she sits passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight. The struggles Earhart faces as a female pilot encompass the rest of the film.

    But what tragic biography would be complete without a love story woven in?

    Don’t worry, for all you fans of love stories out there, Nair chooses to highlight the predictable marriage between Earhart and Putnam as well. Nair also intertwines Earhart’s rumored affair with fellow pilot Gene Vidal, played by Ewan McGregor.

    While the story itself might motivate young girls to never give up on their dreams, the characters fall short. “”Amelia”” has a strong cast, with great performances by both Swank and Gere. But you have to wonder why there is no emotional connection to the story itself.

    Perhaps it is the sole factor that most people attending the film already know the ending.

    However, “”Amelia”” is a sight to behold for other factors. Being a period piece, “”Amelia”” beautifully captures the essence of American life pre-World War II. The roles of women are clearly stated, as Earhart herself has to jump through hoops in order to achieve her dream. Her determination makes this a motivational piece that perhaps is best viewed from a feminist perspective. 

    Overall, the film lacks the jump start it needs to hold an audience’s attention. When crafting a biographic piece, a filmmaker needs something unexpected, which in “”Amelia”” didn’t exist. My advice: watch a History Channel documentary of her life. It spares you the half-hearted love story and sticks to the facts.

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