Monday 8 February 2010

Vagabond of the Air

Amelia Earhart really is one of my icons, a formidable role model. She broke so many boundaries, so many records, always striving to move beyond, never to rest. Her sudden and tragic disappearance in July 1937 on a round the world trip has lent an enduring fascination to her story. It’s almost as if she had been transfigured, from a mortal to an immortal aviatrix. She is and will remain forever the vagabond of the air, to use her own words.

I saw Amelia recently, the biopic with Hilary Swank in the title role. The first thing that struck me was the uncanny resemblance between Swank and Amelia, and I don’t just mean the hairstyle! It’s almost as if she was born to play this part.

The reviews this movie has received, the assessment of Swank’s performance, have been less than generous to say the very least. I could not care less what the critics think; I loved this movie, and I thought Swank was superlative in the role of the tragic heroine. I think she captured not just the general deportment and the general attitude of Earhart but something more, something of her spirit.

The other performances I would like to highlight are Richard Gere as George P Putnam, the publishing tycoon and Amelia’s eventual husband, and Christopher Eccleston as Fred Noonan, the navigator also lost with Amelia on the final flight of her Lockheed Electra.

I love bio movies and this one really carried me along. I now feel sufficiently inspired that I’m considering taking flying lessons; yes, indeed I am.

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