Amelia Earhart's disappearance has whirled up interest for all of the seventy-two years since she first disappeared. And now we have director Mira Nair telling the great story of the aviatrix Amelia Earhart in a film titled simply Amelia.
An authentic Electra airplane, flown from France to South Africa for the filming of Amelia, accompanies star Hilary Swank on her adventure of following in Amelia Earhart's steps. The Electra is identical to the airplane that Amelia flew around the world. Amelia was on her way into the last leg of her journey, from England to Honolulu to Berkeley, California, when she was swallowed up by foul weather and the great unknown.
The USCGC Itasca was waiting to act as Amelia's radio escort at the island of Howland where she and her navigator Frederick Noonan were to refuel for their final stint to Honolulu. Amelia and Fred should have made it to Howland...but something happened.
One of the theories prevalent in the 1930s and 1940s was that Amelia was on a secret spy mission for the U.S. Navy and that as part of her mission she knew she had to sacrifice her life because she would have no way to get back to Howland in time to refuel before her fuel ran out. This theory became the basis of a Rosalind Russell film in 1943 called Flight for Freedom. In 1992 new evidence was found giving more clues about what happened to Amelia.
Two groups of researchers dove into the hunt for Amelia after that. The TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) and Elgin Long both took up the search and both have their theories. Mira Nair's film embraces Elgin Long's theory that Amelia and Fred were blown off course by a violent storm. On the other hand, TIGHAR theorizes that they landed on a nearby island and has uncovered shoe fragments and bones that may or may not indicate Amelia and Fred were there.
Hilary Swank gives a brilliant, relaxed performance in her portrayal of Amelia Earhart, showing Amelia's courage, determination and vision as an inner state of being and not an adopted philosophy of competition. Richard Gere surpasses his previous work as he portrays George Putnam, Amelia's beloved husband. The sets and locations are all perfectly chosen giving a quiet assurance of authenticity that matches Swank's portrayal of Amelia Earhart's own quiet assurance and authenticity.
If there is one negative thing to say about the film Amelia, it is that the make-up is just strangely enough done that it is a distraction. The make-up has a strange quirk of giving the same sunburnt hue to pale skins and being oddly unable to recognize where a hairline is. But pay it "no never you mind" and enjoy the brilliance that is Amelia.
This is a film to see—and probably see more than once. Amelia is rated PG and may need more than the occasional hand over the eyes of young ones. You will find yourself soaring right along with that Electra and rejoicing right along with Amelia, even when she finds herself in a pasture in the British Isles instead of in Paris.
Mira Nair - Director (2009)
Ronald Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan - Writers
Hilary Swank - Amelia Earhart
Richard Gere - George Putnam, Amelia's husband
Ewan McGregor - Gene Vidal
Christopher Eccleston - Fred Noonan, Amelia's navigator
NOTE: For More Fascinating Information, See "Related Links" Below. "Amelia Earhart Movie" Links You to a Wealth of Informative Sources Related to Amelia Earhart's Disappearance and the New Hunts for Amelia.
Buy Last Flight - Amelia Earhart's Flying Adventures at Amazon Amelia Earhart's Collected Letters, News Dispatches and Flight Log, Available at Amazon
Buy Amelia Earhart's Shoes: Is the Mystery Solved? at Amazon Artifacts on an Island May or May Not Have Belonged to Amelia Earhart, Available at Amazon
For Your Convenience, You Can Buy Movie Tickets for Amelia at Fandango.