Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 34
  2. Negative: 11 out of 34

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Critic Reviews

  1. Most of all, Earhart wanted to be able to fly free as a bird above the clouds, and director Nair and star Swank make her quest not only understandable but truly impressive.
  2. 80
    When this actor (Swank) steps into the right role, she wears and inspires it like Denzel Washington.
  3. 75
    A perfectly sound biopic, well directed and acted, about an admirable woman. It confirmed for me Earhart's courage -- not only in flying, but in insisting on living her life outside the conventions of her time for well-behaved females. The next generation of American women grew up in her slipstream.
  4. Swank is no mere impersonator. Her Amelia, like Maggie in "Million Dollar Baby," is unwavering in her gaze, ambition, and drive... In Nair's evocatively art-directed (and sensationally costumed) film, Earhart comes alive.
  5. The actress and the aviatrix are a match made in heaven, but surrounding the soaring performance is a movie that's mostly earthbound.
  6. 63
    In an ironic twist, Mira Nair's big-hearted yet by-the-numbers biopic of Amelia Earhart never -- unlike the famous aviatrix -- takes chances.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Inside Amelia is a sharp idea struggling to get out: How does a woman marketed to the public as a star turn herself back into a human being? And at what cost?
  8. 63
    This movie was made to be shown to junior high history classes, not audiences in a movie theater.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Amelia goes airborne but never fully soars.
  10. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Swank’s moving performance, the period dressing and beautiful planes all appeal, but dramatically it doesn’t really soar.
  11. A frustratingly old-school, Hollywood-style, inspirational biopic about Amelia Earhart that doesn't trust a viewer's independent assessment of the famous woman pictured on the screen.
  12. Distressingly ordinary for such an extraordinary subject.
  13. The film's basic material, that is the history, is not without interest. And it must be admitted that every so often - for about 10 seconds every 10 minutes - we get a hint of the movie they wanted to make and hoped they were making: One about the thrill of early aviation and the promise of a young century.
  14. Amelia is the Mack truck of flight. Heavy and lumbering, it delivers the goods, but there's not an ounce of magic in the thing.
  15. 50
    A lazy coffee-table book of a movie,
  16. Perhaps Nair believes that heroism in our tabloid era has become degraded. If so, she overcorrected. Amelia is so pure in heart that it slides right off the screen.
  17. There’s nothing more boring than a life embalmed with halfhearted Hollywood bombast, which only makes the film’s fleeting pleasures stand out all the more.
  18. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    The result is verisimilitude without engagement -- a risk-taker's story told entirely without narrative risk -- and a movie that consequently never takes flight.
  19. So a pioneering feminist in the hands of a feminist filmmaker should have been a perfect match. But like her subject, the filmmaker gets lost in the clouds.
  20. 40
    Amelia is a stunted epic, an ambitious and handsome-looking picture that tells its story in the dullest, most confusing way possible.
  21. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    It's enough to make you wish someone would make a movie about her.
  22. 40
    Amelia is handsome yet predictable and high-minded--not a dud, exactly, but too proper, too reserved for its swaggering subject.
  23. Most devastating to the film’s effectiveness is its inability to convey that one essential to the story of Amelia Earhart: the tangible pleasures of flying.
  24. There's so much pluck and gumption on the screen you can smell it. Flesh and blood? Not so much.
  25. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    What rankles most about Amelia is the timidity and lack of imagination with which Nair approaches one of America's most exceptional and intriguing celebrity life stories.
  26. 30
    Drawn from two Earhart bios, Mira Nair’s dull hagiography comes in about 111 minutes too long.
  27. 30
    With any luck this biopic of Amelia Earhart will also vanish without a trace. Hilary Swank is sorely miscast as the legendary aviator.
  28. It’s all so glancing and superficial that the movie doesn’t seem to have a present tense. It goes by like coming attractions. It is, however, a treasury of bad biopic dialogue.
  29. 25
    Considering its focus on a pioneering, rule-breaking icon, the film’s utter lack of personality isn’t just a failure. It’s close to an insult.
  30. 25
    There’s not a real or spontaneous minute in it.
  31. 25
    Better luck trying to find out what truly happened to the real Earhart than trying to diagnose all that's wrong with this hapless film.
  32. Amelia Earhart is still missing.
  33. Alas, excesses of any pleasurable kind are absent from this exasperatingly dull production.
  34. Tis embalmed drama is a ghost from the '80s, a decade that regularly produced surprise-free, caramelized biopics. The airless Amelia is missing practically everything.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 2 out of 8
  1. Feb 8, 2016
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I didn't pay much attention of the biopic. Hilary Swank was definitely going to be a great choice by playing one of the greatest heroic female-empowered aviators of our time, Ms. Amelia Earhart. But this Amelia movie just plain suck. It"s about 1 and a few quarter hours long and doesn't even have a proper ending to find out more info about Earhart's disappearance. It also didn't help that I was hoping for another Oscar nomination for Swank after her big win in Million Dollar Baby. That didn't happened though the fact that Swank did a decent Amelia Earhart, but the Academy said "no way. Unless it has a terrible Rotten Tomatoes score, there's no chance in hell you'll ever get a shot at the Oscars." Poorly-written but with a splendid cast, but Fox Searchlight just picked the wrong movie at the wrong time. Full Review »
  2. Jan 10, 2011
    This movie was superb. Hillary Swank and Richard Gere are terrific. Don't miss it. You will love it; it's low key film-making at its best.This movie was superb. Hillary Swank and Richard Gere are terrific. Don't miss it. You will love it; it's low key film-making at its best. Why it received such low scores is beyond me. It is a 10 in my book. Full Review »
  3. ChadS.
    Oct 28, 2009
    Her plane is slow. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed L-10 Elektra doesn't zip in the sky like the crates flown by test pilots in other Her plane is slow. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed L-10 Elektra doesn't zip in the sky like the crates flown by test pilots in other aviation-heavy films such as Tony Scott's "Top Gun" and Phillip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff". The plane's relative lack of speed doesn't translate well to the screen, but this non-dramatic handicap could easily have been counterbalanced through a clearly delineated rendering of how air travel was far from routine during this era, in which each flight came fraught with the possibility of a crash. To set the stage of Earhart's crowning achievement(her solo flight across the Atlantic), "Amelia" should show, not just tell, about the unsuccessful attempts made by other female aviators, which ended in death. There's not enough midair tension to help illustrate historicity's dual nature of Earhart's piloting career, which ideally would have displayed her heroism, in simultaniety with evidence that backed the claims of her piloting contemporaries who disputed her competence. Since Earhart's professional accomplishments come off as surprisingly dull, the aviatrix's personal life; her marriage to G.P. Putnam(Richard Gere) and affair with Gene Vidal(Ewan McGregor), comes dangerously close to defining her. The sweeping musical score sweeps all the daredevil spirit out of her. It's a soundtrack better suited for a swoony, romantic woman of her times, not an iconoclast with steely ambition. The music turns Amelia into something she probably never was: soft. Childless throughout her marriage to the famed book publisher, the film, perhaps invents a maternal side for the pilot, who is exceedingly nice and motherly to Gene's son. The music reduces this trailblazing woman, as if "Amelia" was about the first stewardess to fly across the Atlantic. Full Review »