Australian Council on Children and the Media

Amelia

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 12 (Lack of interest, scary scenes, language, sexual references).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Amelia
  • a review of Amelia completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 November 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to scary scenes and lack of interest
Children 8 - 12 May lack interest for this age group. Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes, coarse language and sexual references.
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Amelia
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language
Length 111 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film Amelia is based on the exploits 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 her ill fated around the world flight. The story then jumps back and forth between the years 1928 and 1937.

A younger Amelia enters the office of publicist George Putnam (Richard Gere) and asks for assistance in making her the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The adventure turns out to be more of a publicity stunt rather than pioneering feat, as Amelia is given the role of commander while a male did the actual flying. However, the stunt brings Amelia to attention of the American public providing her with lucrative advertising deals promoting clothing, luggage and cameras, all of which provides Amelia with the necessary funds to continue her flying exploits.

Before long Amelia develops a romantic relationship with George and the pair 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.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Marriage and infidelity; adventure and risk taking.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

No person to person violence

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Amelia contains a number of scenes of people in danger and accidental harm which may scare young children. Examples include

  • 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 which flies open with the man hanging half out of the plane. With Amelia’s assistance the man is able to pull him self back in. A few seconds later Amelia falls against the door and also nearly falls out with the man helping her back in; both are uninjured.
  • While flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia flies high to avoid a lightning storm. Ice forms on the plane causing the plane to loose power and plummet 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 attempting to take off, the wheels on Amelia’s plane break off causing 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 uninjured.
  • While flying over the Pacific Ocean, Amelia and her navigator lose contact with the Coast Guard resulting in Amelia unable to find an Island to land on for refuelling, stress and fear are show on both Amelia and the navigator’s face with the navigator putting his hands together and praying. 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 is unable to hear the Coast Guard, and hear that Amelia’s plane went down and was never found.  

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

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

Product placement

While there is no actual product placement, the use of Amelia herself to promote various product lines for profit is depicted. These products included luggage, clothing, cameras and cigarettes.

Sexual references

Amelia contains a few mild sexual references. Examples include

  • When Amelia approaches George Putnam about being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Putnam tells Amelia that she was chosen because she was attractive, telling her that pretty women attract attention.  
  • When Amelia finally agrees to marry George, she tells him that she will not hold to a medieval code of monogamy and remain faithful to him.
  • Amelia, while looking at another woman tells a man that the woman is beautiful and that she has lovely legs.
  • Amelia’s husband tells her that he will not have Gene staying in the house when he is away, the inference being that he suspects Amelia of having an affair with Gene.
  • While intoxicated, Amelia’s navigator Noonan makes reference to Amelia having an affair with Gene. He then suggests that they should “take advantage of a situation when it arises.”  

Nudity and sexual activity

Amelia contains some partial nudity and low-level sexual activity. Examples include

  • In a couple of scenes we see Amelia and George lying in bed together, on one occasion George has a bare chest while Amelia is wearing a camisole that reveals her bare legs. We see the pair embracing and caressing 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 we see the pair kissing 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.
  • Woman wear low cut tops that reveal cleavage.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including alcohol and cigarettes. Examples include

  • 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 promoting Luck Strike cigarettes and reference is made to Amelia promoting that product.
  • In several scenes we see George pouring himself a glass of brandy and sipping from the glass.
  • There are a couple of scenes depicting people drinking champagne at parties and dinner parties. We see bottle of champagne being opened and poured into glasses while a group of people are in a plane.
  • There are several scenes depicting people smoking cigarettes. 
  • In one scene Amelia confronts her navigator about his drinking problem, and in one scene we see him drinking strong spirits and behaving in an intoxicated manner, becoming verbally aggressive and insulting towards Amelia.

Coarse language

Amelia contains some infrequent low-level coarse language. Examples include:

  • Christ sake, dear god, arsehole, stupid, idiot, damn, hell. 

In a nutshell

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 and Richard Gere also gives a solid performance. Attention to historical detail is first rate, but the film is a little slow and repetitive at times, so will lack interest for younger viewers.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Pursue 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 parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Honesty: Amelia felt a little fraudulent about receiving credit for being the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a plane (she was only a passenger not the pilot, to correct this she later flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Perseverance: for Amelia quitting or failure were not an option, she never gave in regardless of the odds, which at times gained her the title of reckless.
  • Selflessness: Amelia spent much of her time promoting the cause of other female aviators with encouragement and by pushing gender boundaries.  

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as George Putnam’s initial interest in using Amelia for her looks rather than flying skill and the subsequent use of Amelia’s celebrity status to sell products.

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