Battling beneath the weight of a haystack haircut and the most terrifying gnashers this side of ‘Jaws: The Revenge’, Swank makes a decent fist of the title role, all brittle consonants and steely self-determination. In a surprising but highly appropriate upset, it’s Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor who take the thankless arm-candy roles, as book-tycoon hubby George Putnam and gadabout bit-on-the-side Gene Vidal, respectively.
The script, framed in a series of flashbacks as Amelia embarks on her doomed round-the-world flight, takes our heroine from plucky but inexperienced amateur pilot to icon of the Great Depression. It’s a fascinating story, told simply but effectively: no one’s working outside their comfort zone, but the film is never less than watchable and is often highly entertaining. Nair constructs the aerial sequences with real grace, and the entire enterprise has a lightness of touch that precludes any deep emotional involvement but also enables proceedings to tick along quite pleasurably. Inoffensive, arcane and ultimately rather sweet, ‘Amelia’ is one to take your grandmother to.