Rated 2.0

Director Mira Nair’s steadily reverential poster portrait of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, with Hilary Swank in the title role, seems notably less ambitious than its protagonist. All the film really does, dramatically, is observe and endorse Earhart’s (tragically insufficient) resistance to being thwarted. Hovering around the period of the middle 1930s, during which she became a celebrity, it adds little to Earhart’s lore, but subtracts a lot from her life. She’s fully formed as a role model from moment one, with nowhere to go but into fate’s Pacific oblivion. The ostensible thoroughness of Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan’s script, deriving from not one but two Earhart biographies, serves mostly to convey the semblance of a book report. We’re allowed the framework of a few proverbial plot points, with functional support from Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston, but it’s Swank’s consistent and cleverly recessive charisma that finally gets this film off the ground, if only barely.