Amelia (PG)

Mira Nair (111 mins), starring Richard Gere, Hilary Swank
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The Independent Culture

Hilary Swank, sporting gamine haircut and mannish clothes, looks great as fearless aviatrix Amelia Earheart, but she fights a losing battle trying to get this lumpen biopic off the ground.

Richard Gere plays her manager-husband George Putnam, eagerly exploiting her celebrity with lines in clothes and luggage, while airline executive Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor) is the cuckoo in the marital nest. The look of the movie – suave Art Deco lines and 1930s fashions – is blameless, though helpless to counter the Ron Bass screenplay, guaranteed to drain the life out of any drama it touches. There's another epitaph, "Amelia", on Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira, which finds more poetry in Earheart's legend over six minutes ("like Icarus ascending/ On beautiful foolish arms/ Amelia, it was just a false alarm") than this film does in almost two hours.

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