It's been said that there are certain roles an actor or actress can take to garner an awards nomination. One of those roles is as a real life person in a biopic. If that person's life ended in tragedy, even better! So in this day and age where so many biopics have already been produced, who else could possibly be potrayed by an actress desperate to climb back to the top of her rapidly descending career? Why, Amelia Earhart, that's who! Since her Oscar winning role in 2004's terrific Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank's career has hit a standstill, appearing in crap like The Reaping and P.S. I Love You. Now, she hopes to reclaim her Oscar status as Amelia Earhart in the newest biopic, Amelia, but this atrocity certainly isn't doing her any favors.
The film, quite obviously, follows Amelia Earhart as she attempts to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe. During her years prior to the trip, she meets George Putnam, played by Richard Gere, and eventually marries him. He, being the connoisseur he is, does all he can to fund Earhart's flights, though he knows in the back of his mind that he could one day lose her forever.
To continue on seems like a frivolous waste of time because we all know where this story is heading. All we could possibly ask is that the journey to that ending be full of emotion and grandeur, but unfortunately, it is empty and meaningless.
Perhaps knowing its limitations, the film employs manipulative emotional tactics, like low key, somber music and schmaltzy dialogue, to try to trick us into caring about Amelia. It even flashes back and forth from the preparation of the doomed flight to her actual journey in its attempt to create a foreboding atmosphere, teasing us by showing little snippets of Earhart in her last days to the point where it feels insulting. It tries to create a sense of dread as if its audience is historically oblivious to the woman's final flight. We already know the events surrounding her disappearance is mysterious. We don't need that mystery forced down our throats.
All this movie really needed was a competent script with drawn out characters and emotional relationships, but it has none. The script is awful and the characters are criminally unexplored, like, for instance, Earhart's intimacy with flying being told only through badly written voiceover. We never truly get to feel her love for it. You can tell me all you want, but showing me is much more effective.
Much of the dialogue is said in a way that would never be said in real life, even in the late 20's or early 30's, like when George asks Amelia to marry him and she goes off on some nonsense tangent about how her father gave her a globe when she was young, which is really just a long, drawn out, cinematic way of saying no.
Amelia is schlocky, asinine drivel with hokey dialogue and poorly drawn out romantic relationships. There is no emotional connection in the entire movie, neither between the characters onscreen nor between Earhart and the audience. I cared so little about her that I was hoping for her to hurry up and disappear so I could get up and walk out of the theater.
The real Amelia Earhart is a terrific woman who inspired not just the country, but the entire world with her aviation adventures and she deserves a truly great biopic to chronicle her life and untimely death. Amelia, I'm afraid, is not it.
Amelia receives 1/5