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Out of Africa (1985)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 22
Rotten: 20

Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 10
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 39,630

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Movie Info

Out of Africa is drawn from the life and writings of Danish author Isak Dinesen, who during the time that the film's events occured was known by her married name, Karen Blixen-Flecke. For convenience's sake, Karen (Meryl Streep) has married Baron Bor Blixen-Flecke (Klaus Maria Brandauer). In 1914, the Baron moves himself and his wife to a plantation in Nairobi, then leaves Karen to her own devices as he returns to his womanizing and drinking. Soon, Karen has fallen in love with charming white … More

Rating:
PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre:
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
Kurt Luedtke
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Jan 29, 2002
Runtime:
Universal Pictures


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Critic Reviews for Out of Africa

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (20) | DVD (16)

The relationship of Karen and Denys is a prickly and, despite the era in which it is set, curiously modern one. It's also at the heart of this understated movie.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Streep may convince us utterly that she is in love with Africa, but our views of it are a little too stately to really feel the place.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

My basic problem with this otherwise sumptuous and well-acted film is that I never was able to accept Redford in character.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Out of Africa is, at last, the free-spirited, fullhearted gesture that everyone has been waiting for the movies to make all decade long. It reclaims the emotional territory that is rightfully theirs.

Full Review… | February 20, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Maybe the problem of the pacing is simply the nature of the beast these days with expensive period pieces. Once the difficult details are all in place, it may be too much to expect a director to resist milking every scene for more than it's worth.

Full Review… | January 28, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Sydney Pollack applies craftsmanship and restraint to a classic plot curve of longing, fulfillment, and loss, and although the denouement is a bit overextended, he never yields to facile, insistent sentimentality -- his effects are honestly won.

Full Review… | February 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Luedtke and Pollack bought these high-priced literary sources only to chuck them for a conventional, largely fictionalized movie romance.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
People Magazine

What the movie loses in emotional realism, it gains in sheer epic audacity.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Radio Times

Out of Africa is a splendid example of that persistent genre, the coffeetable movie. It's big, beautiful, and imposing. But there isn't much to it, and pretty pictures -- replacing ideas, not supporting them -- are its only real attraction.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Christian Science Monitor

Out of Africa has the sheen of artsiness and the gloss of two big-name actors. Unfortunately, that`s not quite enough in the absence of a story with vigor and passion.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Despite its technical assurance and some strong performances, this is a film that favours spectacular landscapes over emotional depth.

Full Review… | February 15, 2013
Total Film

Not even the meticulous Meryl can breathe life into a movie that never really gets started, and takes almost an hour to end.

Full Review… | September 3, 2012
Quickflix

Fantastic acting or not... seven Oscars or not... I was bored. And I can't get past that.

Full Review… | July 30, 2012
7M Pictures

Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, this earned seven, including Best Picture and Best Director ... but no Best Actress, alas.

Full Review… | May 28, 2008
Creative Loafing

Dull biopic of the strong-willed Danish writer Isak Dinesen.

Full Review… | March 25, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The film is so preened and self-satisfied.

Full Review… | February 20, 2008
Empire Magazine

The film runs for 161 minutes and does not have a strongly defined narrative.

January 28, 2008

As the Academy found before awarding it seven Oscars, it is easy to be seduced by the lush cinematography and Barry's score. More difficult to tolerate is the slushy love story between Streep and Redford.

Full Review… | January 28, 2008
Film4

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.

Full Review… | January 28, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Despite a long-winded approach to moviemaking, Out of Africa is a sumptuous romantic epic with a wonderful lead performance from Meryl Streep.

December 27, 2006
Cinema Sight

Audience Reviews for Out of Africa

Excellent acting. This is the film I think of when I hear Klaud Maria Brandauer's name. And Maryl Streep can do no wrong. Solid performance by Redford. Beautiful film making.

More
cchclaw
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Incredible in so many ways. Full review later.

More
TomBowler
Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

The Academy certainly loves the Prestige Picture, don't they? This film filled that niche in 1985, and it was decided that this was the film that should take home the big awards that night. Some of them are deserved, don't get me wrong, but I think this film is just really good, and not a classic.

Like many prestige pictures, it's a sweeping romantic historical epic based on actual events and various published sources. It's a lengthy movie too, which makes me wonder if all prestige pictures have to be pushing 3 hours if not longer. Thankfully that's not a requirement to win Best Picture, though many of those winners do have some long running times, sometimes unnecessarily so.

This particular film, despite being a lengthy romantic historical epic is one I found myself enjoying more than I sometimes tend to with these sorts of things. It is the stroy of a Danish Baroness who, from 1914-1931 ran a coffee plantation with her philandering husband in Kenya. While there, she broke out of her shell, falling in love with both the land and a big game hunter who really showed her how to live.

It's a good story, but this movie is really just a rather simple romantic melodrama that seems really special because of the wodnerful costumes, art direction, set design, landscapes, music, and cinematography. Oh yeah, and the terrific performances. If it weren't for these things, this film wouldn't be all that great. For what it is though, it is enjoyable.

Meryl Streep is fantastic as always, adding another well done accent to her resume. Robert Redford is also really good, though, curiously enough, he plays a Brit who speaks with an American accent... Apparently Redford wanted to use a Brit. accent and even filmed some stuff using it, but Sydney Pollack decided that an All-American like Redford speaking with a British accent might confuse people so he had him not use it. Hmm, that's an odd decision, and not a good one either. Michael Kitchen and Klaus Maria Brandauer also give good performances, though this is mainly the Streep and Redford show. The actors playing the Africans with more substantial roles are also not bad.

Many films involving Europeans in exotic places tend to carry a certain bias in their portrayal of the foreign land and people. This film is no exception, but thankfully it doesn't come off quite as pandering and typical as it could have.

Here's the thing: this movie has some interesting characters and situations, but those are least least interesting parts of the movie, even though they are supposed to be. What really had me was the cinematogrpahy and the John Barry's score, even though I could detect some shades of his later score for Dances With Wolves. The film tries to put things into a historical context, but I felt they could have done more with it, and had the filmfocus less on the character romance, and more on some sort fo specific plot. I mean hell, it's set in Africa from 1914-1931. There's all sorts of great material there for a truly wonderful film.

Okay, enough of that. I did like this movie, but I don't think it's truly that special. Yes, some of it is impressive, but it mostly just plays it safe and follows formula. Sometimes, that's okay, but I was really expecting more. However, I liked it enough to give it the rating I've given it, so there.

More
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

I saw this again today -- mind you for the first time since joining Flixster. It is a good movie. Keeps you interested, good story, good acting, good scenery. Interesting that it is based on a true story.

This movie features a strong-willed woman who makes the decisions in a frontier land at a time when most women seemed to be nothing but fluff.

More
Redlats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Out of Africa Quotes


Denys Finch Hatton:
I don't want to live someone else's idea of how to live. Don't ask me to do that. I don't want to find out one day that I'm at the end of someone else's life.
– Submitted by Sonya T (7 months ago)
Denys Finch Hatton:
I don't want to find out one day that I'm at the end of someone else's life.
– Submitted by Sonya T (7 months ago)
Denys Finch Hatton:
And what is it exactly that's yours? We're not owners here Karen, we're just passing through.
– Submitted by Sonya T (7 months ago)
Denys Finch Hatton:
I don't want to find out one day that I'm at the end of someone else's life.
– Submitted by Sonya T (7 months ago)
Karen Blixen-Finecke:
It's an odd feeling - farewell, there is some envy in it.
– Submitted by Sonya T (7 months ago)
Denys Finch Hatton:
And what is it exactly that's yours? We're not owners here Karen, we're just passing through.
– Submitted by Sonya T (7 months ago)

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