Out of Africa (1985)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic 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.


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

Cast


as Karen Blixen

as Denys Finch Hatton

as Baron Bror Blixen-Fi...

as Berkeley

as Felicity

as Delamere

as Lady Belfield

as Lord Belfield

as Sir Joseph

as Belknap

as 2nd Commissioner

as Kanuthia

as Doctor

as 1st Commissioner

as Lady Byrne

as Minister

as Beefy Drunk

as Young Officer

as Mariammo

as Huge Man

as Victoria

as Lady Delamere

as Dowager

as Missionary Teacher
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Out of Africa

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

Login

Critic Reviews for Out of Africa

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (11)

The relationship between Karen Blixen and her British lover, Denys Finch Hatton, may fail to catch fire. But the production itself is so exquisitely served that you can't help but be grateful for this extraordinary visual treat.

Full Review… | February 21, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

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

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.

cchclaw
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Incredible in so many ways. Full review later.

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.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Out of Africa Quotes

– Submitted by Sonya T (16 months ago)
– Submitted by Sonya T (17 months ago)
– Submitted by Sonya T (17 months ago)
– Submitted by Sonya T (17 months ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Out of Africa on our Movie forum!