Movie Review: Amelia

A chronicle of the life and career of the famed aviator Amelia Earhart, staring Hilary Swank as Amelia, and Richard Gere as her husband, George Putnam. Of course, we all know the significance of Amelia’s achievements. She had big dreams as a little girl in Kansas, picked up aviation as her passion, and eventually became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Eventually, in 1937, she embarked on a trip around the world. The space between Hawaii and Asia, at that time, was unconquerable by plane. It had not been done before. She ran low on gas when trying to find Howland Island, a small strip of sand with a military outpost. Radio signals between the outpost and the plane did not work correctly. The outpost could hear her, but she could not hear them. She was doomed.

What in the age of GPS would be a trivial lookup was deadly in 1937. Amelia and her navigator, and their plane, were never found. They simply vanished. 

The film shows Amelia’s life, her values and her passion. We pick up a little aviation history as we go. The 120 minute movie is slow in parts, and the first half, while informative, had my interest waning at times. I stuck with it, looking forward to the drama of the inevitable end, that we all, unfortunately, knew all along.

Amelia Earhart changed the lives of women in this country through her example, her courage and her passion. She made history, and as it goes with people who break the rules and attempt things that have not been done before, sometimes things go wrong. If the vehicles of  those dreams are airplanes flying low with not enough gas in inclement weather over vast oceans, there isn’t any margin for error. Amelia died a few weeks before her 40th birthday. It was, I now know, much too soon.

The movie was slow, and like a plane overloaded with too much gas, too heavy to take off, it bounced up and down and it never really soared like it should have. It left me thinking that the story was interesting, and that’s that.

Rating: **

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