Film: Out of Africa

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Film:

Out of Africa

Director: Sydney Pollack
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Universal Studios

Sydney Pollack’s 1985 multiple-Oscar winner is a sumptuous and emotionally satisfying film about the life of Danish writer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), better known as Isak Dinesen, who travels to Kenya to be with her German husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer) but falls for an English adventurer (Robert Redford). The film is slow in developing the relationship, but it is rich in beautiful images of Africa and in the romantic tone surrounding Blixen’s gradual discovery of her life and voice. One downside: while we may all love Redford, he is as convincingly British as…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Sydney Pollack’s 1985 multiple-Oscar winner is a sumptuous and emotionally satisfying film about the life of Danish writer Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), better known as Isak Dinesen, who travels to Kenya to be with her German husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer) but falls for an English adventurer (Robert Redford). The film is slow in developing the relationship, but it is rich in beautiful images of Africa and in the romantic tone surrounding Blixen’s gradual discovery of her life and voice. One downside: while we may all love Redford, he is as convincingly British as Kevin Costner is in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. —Tom Keogh

Barnes and Noble

A lush and enthralling romantic drama drawn from uniquely fascinating source material, Out of Africa eschews most of the genre clichés and unfolds with refreshing respect for its audience. Meryl Streep is superb as Karen Blixen, the passionate Danish woman who marries for convenience at the beginning of World War I and moves to Nairobi with her husband (played here by Klaus Maria Brandauer). Before long, the marriage fails, leaving Blixen free to pursue her romance with an idealistic British adventurer (Robert Redford), who dearly loves her but balks at being tied to one place. Kurt Luedtke’s script—a synthesis of five books Blixen later wrote under the name Isak Dinesen—tells the story at a leisurely pace, and some might think the film unnecessarily long at two and a half hours. But director Sydney Pollack re-creates time and place with such skill and accuracy that you’ll find yourself drawn into the narrative and hanging on every word and expression. David Watkin’s lush cinematography creates an otherworldly ambience that gives the Streep-Redford romance an oddly dreamlike aspect. Redford doesn’t always convince us that he’s an Englishman, but his scenes with Streep, whose work here ranks with her greatest performances, will melt the heart of even the most cynical viewer. Romantic epics rarely achieve a perfect balance between their technical and artistic ambitions, but Out of Africa is one such work. Ed Hulse

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