Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Out of Africa (1985) (2nd time)

In 20th century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate but ultimately doomed love affair with a free-sprited hunter. [imdb]

Nominated for 11 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Sydney Pollack (WINNER)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep
Best Supporting Actor: Klaus Maria Brandauer
Best Adapted Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Original Score (WINNER)
Best Cinematography (WINNER)
Best Editing
Best Art Direction (WINNER)
Best Costume Design
Best Sound (WINNER)

I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills... [I melt]

I really like this film. It's no masterpiece, but I really really like it, because it's so pretty and well put together. It's definitely one of my favorite Best Picture winners of all times. It has a nicely organized screenplay, allowing the story to flow properly, and I'm sure it was not an easy adaptation to do. Its focus is on Meryl's character, the very interesting real-life Baroness Karen Blixen, and I especially appreciated the way the character is put together - there's nothing incredible about this woman, but on her feelings and reactions I could really stand behind, and found them believable.

Redford is just a pretty face, Klaus has charisma, but I don't think it's an awards-worthy performance. Meryl is beautiful & great, but more on her on the other blog. The original score is one of the best I've ever heard, and the cinematography is dreamy. Pollack's direction is not perfect (what's up with the obvious studio screen in 2 scenes?!), but he sure also made some smart choices. I think the beginning of the film is perfect, and the ending is nearly just as good. Yes, you should always start a film with fabulous music & a voiceover from Meryl. All films should have that.

My rating for the film: 9/10. From its competition, I'd probably go for Color Purple, but this is a great winner.


  1. Definitely an all-time favorite of mine.

    After repeated viewings, I really fell in love with it. Music, cinematography, Meryl - movie heaven!

    Some of the best shot scenes ever are here. Some distracting scenes with the studio obviously being the place, but nonetheless it reached the heights of breathtaking cinema, at least for me.

    In a battle between this and The Color Purple, I'd go with this, but both are great movies, I know I may change my choice. :)

    Excited to hear about Meryl!

  2. yes, you've said it better about the studio scenes. Silly really, for such a natural looking film. But otherwise so pretty :)

    Color Purple always gets me with the ending.

  3. Wow 9 out of 10 and it's no masterpiece.

    I seem to remember this as hopelessly soapy but it's been a long time since I last saw it so maybe it's time for a reappraisal.

  4. If I get super objective on it, I see flaws. :) But it's a guilty pleasure. A big pleasure.
    If u thought it was soapy the 1st time, and didn't enjoy it, i doubt you'd change ur mind/

    I think it takes a 10/10 for me to use masterpiece, hope in the past I didn't throw it around so easily.