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|Index||97 reviews in total|
I was very disappointed with this movie. It's an honest statement and I
am prepared to explain why.
This film had so much on its side. Excellent actors, a fascinating subject, in fact the whole thing reeked of Oscar-Worthy... until it actually showed up in theaters. Perhaps it really did try, and I can tell that it was MEANT to be an awards movie. It couldn't be further from worthy.
"Amelia" is a highlights reel of Amelia Earhart's life, faithfully chronicling all the significant events of the famed aviatrix's career. However, it is hollow and nowhere is this more apparent than in the depiction of Earhart's relationships. Or the lack of it. There's no buildup, no exposition, no sort of character interaction to motivate any kind of bond or love forming between individuals. Things just kind of... HAPPEN. Amelia falls in love, falls out of love, and falls in love all over again, all without any sort of event or prompt to motivate it.
In fact, that's the problem of the entire film. Things just HAPPEN with little or not buildup or motivation in between. Poignant moments come and go with no warning or conclusion, rendering them meaningless and out of context. It seems almost as though the director Mira Nair tried a little too hard in the wrong direction.
This is a biopic, not a biography. Plenty of biographies have been written about Ms. Earhart already, the facts belong there. This is supposed to be a movie, and whereas I have no quarrel with facts, they are not the most important aspects. Movies are supposed to be snapshots, truer to the SPIRIT of a character and the MESSAGE of a story than the events within. Events in and of themselves are hollow and meaningless unless the MOTIVATIONS behind them are explained. In "Amelia", they sadly are not, and we are relegated to seeing the brilliant moments of Amelia's life pass with emotionless detachment. Why? Because this movie makes no effort in building character, assuming that the actors' charisma and the fame of their names would automatically make us invested in their fates.
Ms. Nair, you were mistaken.
Sorry, it's just not enough to have Hillary Swank look the part, which she does. This movie had all the historical ingredients to be a great film, and it instead falls back into the same old bland dialog and formula plot that sinks so many biography movies. This film is like a made for TV movie - paints a pretty picture and refuses to go where no man, or no woman, has gone before. Which means it's a whitewash of history. Offers no real interesting insights into this extraordinary woman - not even her mysterious disappearance. For once, why not just stick to the facts, and give us a slightly less glamorous Amelia, minimize the love story, and show what a truly remarkable explorer she was? How dangerous her flying really was, and the challenges she had to overcome, both in the air and on the ground, in a male-dominated society. This film touches on this, but rather than paint with strong strokes, it uses an airbrush. Not a complete waste of time, just average.
Occasionally a movie comes along from Hollywood that sweeps you away
with the breadth and scope of its sheer awfulness.
True story - a hank of hair at the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland thought to be Amelia Earhart's was recently discovered to be, in fact, just thread. This movie is the cinematic equivalent. This movie, thought to be about Amelia Earhart is, in fact, a threaded bundle of clichés and overwrought soap opera moments. If Hilary Swank gave one more brave toothy grin, I thought I was going to have to leave. But I stuck it out to see which was worse, the unconvincing acting, the poor casting, Richard Gere, the costumey looking costumes, or the dreadful Peter Pan soundtrack. But the winner, I think, is the screenplay, which rattles off one maudlin insight after another alternating with scenes of stunning mediocrity played without conviction or chemistry.
If some of this is based on Earhart's real words, then maybe she's just not that interesting a subject for film. My guess is that the forever overly earnest Hillary Swank, as executive producer, buoyed by research and good intentions, convinced Mira Nair that her poetic approach to film-making would be perfect against the pilot's own words of inspiration. The result is a disaster. When you're sitting in the theater having shelled out your ten bucks and you can't wait for Amelia Earhart to die, you know you've gone to the wrong movie.
Mira Nair brings to life the story of Amelia Earhart in Amelia. It
stars Hilariy Swank, who just might have acted her way into another
Oscar nomination and potential win. Alongside her is Richard Gere as
George Putnam as her publicist and partner. The story starts with her
emergence into the public eye when she tried to become the first woman
to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. She does so but not alone, something
she would later try to accomplish.
As her popularity grows so does Putnam's interest in his starlet. He wants her to be famous and to be loved. All she wants is to fly. Together they help make strides for female pilots everywhere. In the days leading up to and including the Great Depression, aviation was a primarily male dominated world, but that mattered very little for Amelia.
Along the way she becomes acquainted with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), a pilot himself and someone that Amelia becomes very close to. Amelia's free spirited nature and desire to be set free come in the way with her feelings for Putnam, and as well as Vidal.
The film is not just about one person, but about a person's dreams, desires, and ambition. Amelia lectures and speaks out for women's rights, advocating for them to follow their dreams of either becoming a pilot like her, or just living their life the way they want to. She doesn't want to be tethered down or restricted.
Swank gives a solid performance as the flying ace. She both looks the part and acts the part very well. I must say that I did not know an awful lot about Amelia Earhart other than the common knowledge about her, but I feel like Swank embodied pretty much what I would expect Amelia to be. Swank has such confidence on screen and is not afraid to let it all hang out there. Though her performances in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby are more impressive, this is a finely tuned character she has developed and a very likable one. Gere too gives a great performance. He does a great job of becoming Putnam ever so slightly with his voice. It's the tiniest of inflections but it is effective nonetheless.
Nair does a great job of capturing the beauty of flight and the ability that the world has to take you breath away. I didn't think this was a visually stunning film, but a well constructed biopic that tells a story we want to hear. I was interested in how she would present her final flight around the world and I was pleased with how she broke it up into segments and didn't try to make it recreate things we don't know about like in The Perfect Storm. The mystery is still there.
Parts of the film are a bit dry, clichéd, and repetitive, but overall this was a nice film about someone who shouldn't be forgotten. It's a good story with great characters, fine acting, and is pleasing to watch.
In the 1930s, Amelia Earhart was a pioneering woman pilot. She married
a man who helped promote her flights. She went missing on the last leg
of a round-the-world flight in 1937.
That's all I got from the movie, which is shockingly bad and instantly forgettable. Earhart was a national figure followed by millions, yet you'd never know why from this tepid film. While Hilary Swank seems likable as Amelia and does bear a striking resemblance to her, the script fails to make her the least bit interesting. The dialogue is tedious, the movie has no excitement or tension, and the director destroys any scenes that might have been emotionally compelling. Richard Gere has the thankless job of playing Amelia's husband and comes across as a completely dull fellow. Even the music is boring. What a colossal waste of talent.
Some people shouldn't see some movies.
This is a period piece and a character study -- both very well done. Some younger viewers may be looking for more action and maybe a happy ending. Maybe a car chase or two.
Works well as a love story between complex characters and as a depiction of Amelia and her time.
Tarentino can change history for fun and profit, but these folks did their best to try depicting truth. Gere and Swank exhibit high level acting skills here and the story moves well from scene to scene.
Not the kind of movie that is going to be popular with the average viewers and not a big money-maker, but a fine film nonetheless.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Most professional reviewers share the same conclusion .. the following
sentence boils their reviews down to one sentence: the movie stinks.
But I'm not a professional film critic. I'm the average film buff who watches movies for one main reason: to be transported to a different place or time by a story that could be inspiring, gritty, funny, emotional, romantic, thrilling or horrifying.
This movie was not perfect.. yes, there were some cheesy dialogs and not enough background on Amelia Earhart's passion for flying. But these shortcomings were made up by spectacular cinematography (breathtaking views of the Victoria Falls), authentic airplanes (they used a version of the 1937 Lockheed Electra that Amelia used on her last fateful voyage), brilliant acting (Hillary looks and acts the part to a T) and resonating music (by Gabriel Yared of "City of Angels" fame).
I'm going to take the 5th as far as Mira Nair's hand in this film is concerned. I've seen this director use more originality to bring fiery screenplays to life on the big screen ("Monsoon Wedding", "The Namesake"), so there does seem to be a disconnect between "Amelia" and her previous films.. I'll say no more :) Don't write off the movie based on the negative reviews. Watch the film for its real appeal - the story of a courageous woman, ahead of her time, who seized every opportunity to live her dreams, whatever the consequence.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite reading a few negative reviews, I had high hopes for Amelia. Of
course, the critics were right and it was not good. The best thing
about this film was the cinematography. With grand, sweeping aerial
shots of all the gorgeous land and sea Amelia flew over, there's no
denying it was stunning visually. That and the fact that Hilary Swank
looked just like Amelia Earhart are the two things I could say were
done well. The rest was a mess.
There were little things that were irritating about the film. Hilary Swank's weird accent bothered me. I don't know anyone from Kansas, so I'm not sure what women from Kansas in the 1920s and 30s would have sounded like, but if they truly sounded as irritating and awful as Hilary Swank did, then the acting coaches should have taken poetic license and allowed her to speak normally. Her accent was so odd, it was distracting. It was also inconsistent and drew attention to itself, taking me out of the experience of the film.
The chemistry between Amelia and George Putnam, played by Richard Gere, was entirely lacking. While Richard tried his best to feign love, and said all the right things, I just didn't buy it. And Amelia was cold and completely unlovable towards him, which I assumed was just part of her character, since when he proposed marriage she responded with a grimace and a promise that she would not be faithful nor would she expect him to be. Because she was so honest, it was not dramatic, interesting or exciting when she began her passionless, short-lived affair with Gene Vidal.
The only thing keeping me awake through most of the film was my popcorn, but I perked up slightly when I thought perhaps they were hinting at Amelia being gay. This at least, was a new take on her life that I hadn't heard of yet. While at a bar, she pointed out that a woman nearby was very attractive. That, her masculine appearance, and her support of other female pilots, particularly the mentoring of an attractive young competitor combined to make me wonder if maybe the filmmakers were going to explore that side of her story. But no, it was just an idle comment used to explain why Amelia always wore pants, she admired the other woman's legs and thought her own were inadequate. Yawn.
The primary problem with this film goes back to the script at its very basic level. There was an utter lack of conflict that made the story incredibly dull. Biographies are hard to do well, as most people's lives are meandering and episodic by nature. We all know the fascinating story surrounding Amelia Earhart's disappearance. This story should have brought us into her life, engaged us so thoroughly that we were on the edge of our seats and calling out "No Amelia-don't get on that plane!" as we watched her take the fateful voyage. Because if we had cared more about her and been brought into her world by an exciting, conflict-driven look at her life, we would have been emotionally attached and deeply moved at the thought of her demise. We all knew how Titanic would end, but were nonetheless moved to tears when we watched Jack sink to his watery grave, because the writers of Titanic did what the writers of Amelia did not-they got the audience emotionally involved with the characters so that we cared whether they lived or died. Watching Amelia was like watching a historically accurate documentary which included all the dull parts of a real person's life. There was little focus on the obstacles and conflicts Amelia Earhart no doubt faced in doing what she did at that time in American history. Instead, everything seemed relatively easy for her. The main conflict arose from her feeling like a sell-out while endorsing product after product, but this too was explained and accepted as necessary, and didn't create any real drama or conflict for the hero.
When the ending we all saw coming finally arrived, it was just that, the end of a story we already know, no less exciting after watching this uninspired portrayal of a woman who truly was groundbreaking and inspirational. It's a shame that the writers did not craft a more engaging Amelia for Hilary Swank to embody. The real woman was a passionate pioneer whose life was interesting, dramatic and groundbreaking. This bravery and zeal could have been captured by an actress as talented as Hilary Swank if the writers had given her a story to work with, rather than this dull retelling of facts.
I found this to be exactly as a few had described: "a fair movie, not
great but not bad, either." I'm not surprised it didn't do well at the
box office even though I cannot pan the film. I enjoyed it.
Even though I liked it, something was missing: maybe an edge and a few things to get us more involved with the characters. It was hard to warm up to either Earhart (Hilary Swank) or her husband George Putnam (Richard Gere.). Swank and Gere usually play interesting roles so to see them so bland here is a bit of a surprise.
Kudos to Stuart Dryburgh, director of photography, for a very pretty picture. He's done some nice work in the past, such as "The Painted Veil." The airplanes and the overall look of the 1930s is wonderful in here, often capturing my attention more than the dialog.
Overall, it's a pleasant film, a romance more than an adventure. Don't let naysayers discourage you from seeing it, yet on the other hand, don't spend big bucks on it, either.
A most enjoyable movie and I had NEVER heard of Amelia Earheart before
I watched this movie, so there, did i have to? She was one gutsy woman,
portrayed by this film, who put flying first and love second, that is
why clearly Richard Gere had to take a peripheral role in this role and
though I feel Gere was the wrong man for the job this time around, he
did the job well enough. the British Christopher Eccleston produced an
extraordinary American accent playing Fred Noonan and Ewan McGregors
role was comfortable enough.
the flying element of the film has received a lot of criticism, by those who understand aviation and by those (me included) who know nothing of aviation. As an aviation spectacle, the film definitely works because this is a love story of one woman with flying, not one womans love story with George Putnam or the other 'chap'! let us clear be about that and enjoy the film for what it is.
Not award winning at Oscar level but entertaining and interesting. Some of the facts may have been changed around but not the basics, again I say this is a movie for entertainment and not a documentary and thank god I didn't get dished something like Nights at Rodanthe which I was served the last time I watched Gere with a mature woman.
Hilary Swank is beyond criticism in this role, she clearly researched her character and acted with great integrity and pride. Amelia Earheart clearly flew at a time of aviation transformation and full credit to her for what she did in her life, whether she was foolhardy or not, she died doing something she loved.
Sometimes we can know too much and it spoils our instinctive enjoyment of something; don't let that happen with this film. I am not a fan of Swank or Gere but to be honest, they delivered the goods here against the odds.
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