Out Of Africa

1985, Movie, PG, 150 mins

Review

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There was very little to begin with here--a delicate, lyrical, autobiographical tale written by an austere, refined woman who brought an opera glass instead of a microscope to her life. The author, Isak Dinesen, recounts the tale of lost loves and old imperial Africa. Karen (Meryl Streep) is the well-born woman who marries Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke (Klaus Maria Brandauer), a playboy who bestows a title upon her, promises her eternal bliss on an African plantation in 1914, and then leaves her alone to run things. Bror is nothing more than a drinker, spendthrift, and womanizer. Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) is an enigmatic white hunter who falls in love with the plantation-bound Karen.

Streep, affecting the most inarticulate and cumbersome accent in any film within the last three decades, strives a little too mightily to bring reason and substance to a role that has neither. Streep's performances started becoming strangled by her highly deliberate technique as early as THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN, and in this one she's so rarefied as to leave one completely cold. Redford, meanwhile, is at once too old, not in the least British (which wouldn't have been so bad if manic Meryl hadn't attempted to be so Danish), and obviously quite bored. To make up for the lack of real story here, director Sydney Pollack shoots endless travelogue footage in soft light and pleasing colors. The movie is not drama and far from a compelling romance. Needless to say, the prestige and technical polish on display here were enough to win this flick a passel of Oscars. leave a comment

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