Out of Africa (1985) Review

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In Kenya during the 20th century a Danish baroness named Karen Blixen who also owns a plantation has a passionate love affair with free spirit Denys showing her that love can be amazing after a terrible marriage with Bror.

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We get to follow the life of Karen Blixen who is attempting to establish a plantation in Africa, which was supposed to be a dairy farm but her new husband Bror changed it to coffee without telling her. This caused some issues in the start from the new marriage which always felt extremely flat. He was not the best husband and ended up infecting Karen with syphilis which was pretty close to killing her.

That leaves us as the viewers wanting something and someone so much better for her considering Bror just wanted her money, or her mother’s money to fund the plantation. The plantation which he never even bothered helping with and went away weeks at a time on hunts. We see how she looks at Denys and vice versa, we know it is eventually going to happen but the build up to this was just as beautiful as the love they then shared with one another.

It was more than just about a great romance though it shows that Karen actually ended up caring about her servants and the Kikuyu Trimble who were on the land they had bought, she cared about them and ensured they could still live in the same place. She made a difference to the place and that is something that I found in particular inspiring throughout. Knowing that it is based on a true story adds to how that feels.

In terms of the film which won 7 academy awards including Best Picture, Best Director for Sydney Pollack and Best Cinematography it really is beautiful to watch and reassuring that 70% of the film was actually shot in Africa. It was beautiful to look at from start to finish and really creates a very different view of how Africa was. Showing the lions in the wild was fantastic to watch as well, I am lucky enough to have been to Africa twice Zambia and then South Africa. In the latter I went on a safari at a game reserve.

Meryl Streep is outstanding in the leading role, this really is the type of role he owns so easily and creates an amazing character development throughout the film. It really does show that she is one of the greatest actresses of all time, one of her many Oscar nominations came for this film. Robert Redford shows off his amazing charisma and intensity, working so effortlessly with Streep. They created passion that was so easy to believe, I was actually quite surprised that he was Oscar nominated. While Klaus Maria Brandauer was in a supporting role, although it is a very good performance even though his character is not likeable even a tiny bit. But that certainly shows a good and impressive performance that is for sure!

Sometimes it is hard catching up with the films that won the Best Picture Oscar, as you expect so much from them and it can often leave you feeling disappointed. I am happy to say that I really enjoyed this one. Although I must also add that this is my perfect type of film a romantic drama that does not have a happy ending. Yes, I am fully aware that is a strange genre to enjoy but I couldn’t help but think about The Bridges of Madison County and Doctor Zhivago when watching Out of Africa. I also seem to be quite the fan of Sydney Pollack’s films, The Way We Were, Tootsie, The Firm and The Electric Horseman.

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