How Will Amelia (the Movie) Affect Amelia (the Name)?

“Amelia,” the Hollywood biopic of Amelia Earhart, was released today. The critics don’t seem impressed, but what interests me isn’t the movie’s quality so much as how it may affect the popularity of the name Amelia.

One-name biopics sometimes make a dent on the baby name charts. After “Frida” (2002), “Ali” (2001) and “Lenny” (1974), the number of babies named Frida, Ali and Lenny increased.

Of course, not all one-name biopics have the same impact. “Sylvia” (2003), “Evita” (1996) and “Rudy” (1993) didn’t inspire any parents-to-be to embrace those particular names.

The tricky thing about Amelia is that it’s already fashionable. Three years ago, it was the 83rd most popular baby name in the nation. Two years ago, it was 76th. Last year, it was 68th. So it will probably continue to rise, regardless of the movie.

But will the movie give the name an extra boost? What do you think?


7 thoughts on “How Will Amelia (the Movie) Affect Amelia (the Name)?

  1. I haven’t seen the movie, but the reviews have been universally negative. If people have bad associations with the movie, I doubt it will affect naming trends.

    But what about “Julie & Julia,” which got good notices and is still playing? Will its success have an effect on baby names?

  2. Nancy, thanks for bringing that up. It does seem that the critics prefer “Julie & Julia” to “Amelia.” (I have yet to see either one, so I’ll have to go with what they say.) Based on that, Julia may benefit more from the cinematic exposure than Amelia.

    Still, I don’t think we should ignore preexisting associations. Many think of Julia Child as an idiosyncratic middle-aged woman who cooked souffles, and of Amelia Earhart as an adventurous young woman who flew planes. One was matronly, the other was mythic. With that in mind, I think it’s possible for a not-so-good (but hyped-to-death) movie about Amelia Earhart to do something for the name Amelia, and a fantastic movie about Julia Child to do nothing at all for the name Julia.

    I’m not sure if that will happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

    [Random aside: I think someone needs to make a movie about Bob Ross. If Julia gets a movie, why not Bob? It should be called “Happy Little Trees.”]

  3. Amelia won’t work here (NL), mostly because we have a crown princess to be named Amalia. Both names are considered very old fashioned. Amélie on the other hand (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0211915/) is quite popular nowadays.

    And Julie and Julia: Julie (pronounced the French way) is growing in popularity; Julia is a top 3 name already.

    What about Juno? That name was virtually non existent over here, until the movie Juno. In 2008 we had 22 little Juno’s in the Netherlands, which is a lot for a ‘new’ name. How is Juno doing in the US?

  4. Emma, great question about Juno. I’ve been wondering about that one, too.

    Unfortunately, the Popular Baby Names list for the U.S. only goes to 1,000, and the 1,000th most popular name last year belonged to 261 baby girls. Any name below that remains a mystery.

    I’d bet there are baby girls out there named Juno, but I have no idea how many.

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