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Out Of Africa

Drama movie directed by Sydney Pollack

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"We navigated differently..."

  • Sep 4, 2005
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This movie about Karen Blixen's (Meryl Streep) experiences in Africa and her love affair with Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) is played out against a lush background, the savage brutality of place rendered in stunning cinematography. The film is a visual feast, capturing the deserts and rolling green valleys, the vast, empty plains and the native population that Blixen befriends and treasures. Her marriage to a German (Klaus Maria Brandaur) a sham, Karen's husband leaves the farm entirely to her, "we navigated differently... the earth was made round so that we not see too far down the road". In this stunning landscape, Karen finds her authentic self, burdened with a physical battle with disease, thanks to her husband, perhaps more appreciative of Kenya after her recovery in her native Denmark.

Newly returned to Africa, Karen has a fresh perspective on this larger-than-life continent and begins an affair with Denys Finch Hatton, an English adventurer with great respect for the land and its people; but he has very strong opinions about ownership, as he explains constantly to the woman who will eventually demand ownership through marriage. The love affair is epic in this setting, the couple inspired by the grandeur of the land. Everywhere they meet, Africa outshines even the most intense passion, truly the star of this movie. This place is made for life and death struggles and great romances. Karen reaches out to the children on her farm, requiring all of them to attend school. Denys chides her for this endeavor, suggesting she is trying to make little English boys out of the black youth.

Even the idyllic romance eventually goes off course, a clash between Denys' commitment to his freedom and Karen's desperate need to have someone of her own. While the acting is low key and Redford's English accent less than convincing, he manages to convey to Karen that "we do not own the land. We are just passing through." Whatever intensity is lacking between Streep and Redford, the scenery and score easily make up for their deficiencies. To view this movie now, twenty years later, when the land has been so ravaged by war and poverty is a powerful experience. In this film, Africa is the star. Luan Gaines/2005.

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Quick Tip by . December 28, 2010
Heard of it since long time ago but never did see it until the other day on the TV. It's a film that until you're ready to see it, you won't be able to appreciate it fully. And for me, it's no better time than now! Interesting how one's life event can synchronized so well with what you see on films!
review by . July 19, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger... The tale of Karen Blixen is enhanced with a beautiful performance by Meryl Streep. Streep's work on language is magnificent in and of itself; I could watch this film again and again just to hear her say, "I had a farm... out of Africa." This movie is deep and rich in the best sense, with tremendous cinematography, a great soundtrack, Oscar-quality performances, and a great story to be told.
About the reviewer
Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #108
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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About this movie


Out of Africa is a 1985 film based loosely on the autobiographical book by Isak Dinesen (pseudonym of Karen Blixen) published in 1937, as well as Dinesen's Shadows on the Grass and other sources. The movie received 28 film awards, including seven Academy Awards.

The book describes events during 1914–1931 concerning European settlers and the native people in the bush country of Kenya (British East Africa), from seaside Mombasa to Nairobi, from Mount Kenya to Kilimanjaro, as told from the lyrical, poetic viewpoint of Danish Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke. The book was continually in print during the 20th century, and reprinted by many publishers.

The film was adapted by Kurt Luedtke and directed by Sydney Pollack. It starred Meryl Streep (as Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke), Robert Redford (as Denys Finch Hatton), Klaus Maria Brandauer (as Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke), Michael Kitchen (as Berkeley Cole), Malick Bowens (as Farah), Stephen Kinyanjui (as Chief), Michael Gough (Delamere), Suzanna Hamilton (as Felicity, who is based on famous aviatrix Beryl Markham), and supermodel Iman (in a cameo role as Mariammo).

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Director: Sydney Pollack
Genre: Drama
Screen Writer: Kurt Luedtke
DVD Release Date: February 29, 2000
Runtime: 161 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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