Story

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.

Themes

Marriage and infidelity; adventure and risk-taking

Violence

This movie contains no person-to-person violence.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Amelia contains several scenes of people in danger and accidental harm, which could scare young children. For example:

  • Amelia is a passenger on a plane flying across the Atlantic Ocean when the plane hits strong turbulence. Amelia is thrown in the air and lands hard on the floor of the plane. A man tries to help Amelia up, but further turbulence causes the man to falls against the plane’s door. It flies open and leaves the man hanging half out of the plane. With Amelia’s help, the man pulls himself back in. A few seconds later, Amelia falls against the door and also nearly falls out. The man helps her back in, and both are unhurt.
  • While flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia flies high to avoid a lightning storm. Ice forms on the plane, which causes the plane to lose power and fall quickly towards the ocean. At the last minute, the ice breaks off and Amelia is able to recover control of the plane, narrowly missing the surface of the water.
  • While Amelia is trying to take off, the wheels on her plane break off. This causes the plane to slide on its undercarriage and the wings to drag along the ground. Sparks fly up, and smoke and flames come out of the plane’s two engines. The crashed plane spins off the runway and comes to a stop. The two people on board scramble out of the plane and are unhurt.
  • While flying over the Pacific Ocean, Amelia and her navigator lose contact with the coast guard. This means that Amelia can’t find an island to land on for refuelling. Amelia and her navigator are clearly frightened and stressed, and the navigator puts his hands together and prays. The scene also cuts to show the distress on the face of Amelia’s husband. We hear that while the coast guard can hear Amelia, Amelia can’t hear the coast guard. We find out that Amelia’s plane went down and was never found.

From 8-13

Children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the scenes described above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

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.

Product placement

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.

Coarse language

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.