Sunday, October 25, 2009
A Few Thoughts on Amelia
Come Oscar night, I doubt that Hilary Swank will be winning her third award for Best Actress. If she gets nominated, I’ll eat my hat. It’s not that her performance is bad. It’s just that her performance is not enough of anything, much like the film she stars in, Amelia, directed by Mira Nair.
First of all, bad title. Sounds like a Disney Channel movie. Second, the supporting performances by Richard Gere as George Putnam and Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal are serviceable, but the actors don’t get much to do. George begs Amelia not to fly around the world. Gene and Amelia have an affair that does little else but make George gloomy and tight-mouthed for a couple of scenes.
Thus, in a film with so little story and conflict, it’s amazingly irritating for us to hear Amelia and Gene repeatedly calling his son’s first name, “Gore… Gore… Gore,” just so we have time to register that this boy, whose presence in the story is totally unnecessary, will grow up to be the famous writer.
Nevertheless, I found this little film rather pleasant. The flying scenes are stunning, especially when the film taps its inner Out of Africa to fly over giraffes and jungles. These scenes carry you away; there’s something very pure and beautiful about a propeller-driven plane. But for a film about a woman’s passion for flying, we don’t get to spend enough time off the ground.