Amelia is based on the adventures and achievements of female aviator Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank). It opens in 1937 with Amelia sitting in the cockpit of her plane just before taking off on the world flight from which she never returned. The story then jumps backwards and forwards between 1928 and 1937.
A younger Amelia enters the office of publicist George Putnam (Richard Gere) and asks for help in becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The adventure turns out to be a publicity stunt more than anything else. This is because Amelia is given the role of commander while a man does the actual flying. But the stunt gets public attention for Amelia, and also well-paid advertising deals to promote clothing, luggage and cameras. This all helps her raise funds to continue her flying exploits.
Before long, Amelia develops a romantic relationship with George and they eventually marry, but the marriage is not a typical one. Amelia insists on remaining a free spirit and also has a relationship with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor).
Not content with being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia announces that she intends to become the first person to fly around the world. Her first attempt ends in disaster when her plane crashes on take off. The plane is repaired, and Amelia and navigator Fred Noonan (Christopher Eccleston) make their ill-fated second attempt.
Marriage and infidelity; adventure and risk-taking
This movie contains no person-to-person violence.
This movie contains a few mild sexual references. For example:
- When Amelia approaches George Putnam about being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Putnam tells Amelia that she has been chosen because she is attractive. He says that pretty women attract attention.
- When Amelia finally agrees to marry George, she tells him that she will not be faithful to him.
- Amelia looks at a woman, and tells a man that the woman is beautiful and has lovely legs.
- George tells Amelia that he will not have Gene staying in the house when he is away. This is because George suspects Amelia of having an affair with Gene.
- While drunk, Amelia’s navigator Noonan talks about Amelia having an affair with Gene. He suggests that he and Amelia should ‘take advantage of a situation when it arises’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- Amelia makes a comment to a man about him having a hangover.
- Amelia talks about her father being a drunk and unreliable.
- We see a poster advertising Lucky Strike cigarettes, a product that Amelia promotes.
- In several scenes, George pours himself a glass of brandy and sips from the glass.
- A couple of scenes show people drinking champagne at parties and dinner parties. Bottles of champagne are opened and poured into glasses while a group of people are in a plane.
- Several scenes show people smoking cigarettes.
- In one scene, Amelia confronts her navigator about his drinking problem. In another scene, he drinks strong spirits and acts drunk. He is rude, angry and insulting towards Amelia.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains some partial nudity and low-level sexual activity. For example:
- In a couple of scenes, Amelia and George are in bed together. One time George has a bare chest while Amelia is wearing a camisole that reveals her bare legs. They cuddle each other before the scene ends.
- Amelia and George kiss in a couple of scenes.
- In one scene, George lifts Amelia’s skirt and caresses her bare thigh before they kiss and the scene ends.
- Gene caresses Amelia’s bare back in a lift, and they kiss each other on the lips. They walk into Gene’s hotel room and dance close together. Amelia drops her coat on the floor and the scene ends.
- Women wear low-cut tops that show their cleavages.
Although it contains no actual product placement, the movie does show the use of Amelia’s image to promote various products for profit. These products include luggage, clothing, cameras and cigarettes.
This movie contains some infrequent low-level coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Amelia is a biographical drama that looks at the adult life of female aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. Hilary Swank gives a fine performance as Amelia and also looks very much like her. Richard Gere also gives a solid performance. The movie’s attention to historical detail is very good, but it is a little slow and repetitive at times. It will lack interest for younger viewers.
The main messages from this movie are:
- Follow your dreams and don’t let any one sway you from your path.
- You are the only one who can make your life fulfilling.
- Failure is not an option.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- Honesty: Amelia feels like a fake for getting the credit for being the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a plane. This is because she was only a passenger not the pilot. She tries to put this right by later flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
- Perseverance: Amelia won’t give up no matter what obstacles she faces. At times, this can make her seem a bit reckless.
- Selflessness: Amelia spends a lot of her time promoting the cause of other female aviators by encouraging them and pushing gender boundaries.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as George Putnam’s initial interest in using Amelia for her looks rather than flying skill, and the later use of Amelia’s celebrity status to sell products.