Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey Reviews

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May 12, 2017
Watching this nearly 30-year-old conservation-focused movie now (for the first time) prompts immediate questions about the current status of the mountain gorilla. Surprisingly, there is some good news: apparently a recovery is in progress - the population is around 880, up from 620 in 1989, according to the WWF. (But of course efforts need to continue to save them). I also wondered where Dian Fossey (the gorillas' champion and a folk hero for two decades) was today, only vaguely remembering that she was murdered in Rwanda in 1985, something that would have been more salient to audiences in 1988. The movie does end with this event and its final 30 minutes set up her fate by showing a dramatic change from wide-eyed affection (toward gorillas) to wild-eyed hostility (toward poachers, the Rwandan government, her own assistants, etc.). Sigourney Weaver is fine as Fossey but the gorillas are the main thing; the production used a combination of real gorillas in the wild (amazingly shot on location), chimpanzees in make-up, and gorilla suits designed by horror artiste Rick Baker. The plot includes romance (with Bryan Brown), action (attacks by poachers), and a lot of oohing and ahhing by Weaver; in fact, the plot seems to detract from the focus on Dian Fossey and her character (as Roger Ebert pointed out), not letting us inside her head much at all. The move also feels dated, with 1980s style/fashion somehow intruding. Perhaps it is ironic, then, that the director was Michael Apted, most famous for his involvement with the 7 Up series (with its next instalment 63 Up! due in 2019). Thinking into the future, it's hard not to imagine a world ravaged by climate change and many endangered animals wiped out.
½ December 18, 2016
This movie is probably one of Sigourney Weaver's best acting performances. I really enjoyed this movie for the most part. It did have the occasional dry spot, but the overall writing was so good that I never lost interest in the story. I would recommend checking this out if you get the chance.
September 6, 2016
A classic great sad story
March 27, 2016
Gorillas in the Mist does have weaker characterization, not that good editing and one repulsive and too violent scene, but this is mostly such a good movie that is important for its story, but also very emotional and even devastating at times. It is also beautiful to look at and it features probably the finest performance in Sigourney Weaver's career.
½ August 5, 2015
Superbe biopic de Dian Fossey interpretee par la sublime Sigourney Weaver. Vraiment un tres beau film que j'affectionne toujours autant.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2015
Michael Apted's captivating true-life drama based on the life of Dian Fossey, played with real conviction by Sigourney Weaver, in a brilliant Academy Award nominated performance, she journeyed to Africa in 1967, with no prior experience, to document the vanishing breed of wild mountain gorillas for the National Geographic. Her transformation from diligent researcher to obsessive protecter of the gorillas from illegal poachers, who are killing the apes is compelling. The scenes with Weaver's interaction with real silverback gorillas is extraordinary and quite moving, you can almost feel her heartfelt compassion for these magnificent endangered animals. Astute direction by Apted, with breathtaking cinematography by John Seale, and a wonderfully lush score by the late great Maurice Jarre. Solid supporting performances by Bryan Brown Julie Harris, John Omirah Miluwi, Iain Cuthbertson, and Ian Glen. An amazing and heartbreaking motion picture. Highly Recommended.
½ June 12, 2015
A beautiful bio pic with an amazing performance from Sigourney Weaver. Great writing, sound, cinematography, and score too
½ May 30, 2015
Un classique de mon enfance que J'ADORE !!!!
½ April 15, 2015
Weaver's best work about a woman who helps protect then gives her life for her beloved gorillas......just really well done.
January 16, 2015
Such a wonderful movie. I just don't know how to express how grateful I am that people like Dian Fossey existed and maybe there is still someone like her out there. She's an example of how people should treat animals. They are sensitive as we are. I was shocked to learn about the atrocities committed by those heartless people against the gorillas. I was so mad when they killed Dian's favorite, I would had done the same she did or even worse..
October 15, 2014
Eu adorei este filme quando vi nos idos da década de 1990. Daí resolvi rever recentemente e fiquei um pouco decepcionada. A história de Dian Fossey é realmente incrível, mas fui pesquisar sobre a vida dela e descobri que esta cinebiografia incluiu fatos que nunca aconteceram. Fora o espaço enorme que narrativa se ocupa com o romance que ela teve com um fotógrafo, quebrando o enredo do filme e quase o transformando numa história de amor proibido.
April 2, 2014
January 31, 2014
Sigourney does her best with what she's given and her scenes with the gorillas alone make the film worth watching. Fossey's fascination with studying the animals and her earlier career achievements aren't fully explained. The romance subplot feels unnecessary even though it's factual.
½ January 21, 2014
Sigourney Weaver is so wonderful playing the late Dian Fossey
she was a zoologist who took the job traveling to the African jungle to study groups of gorillas but after witnessing the poaching and slaughtering of the animals she dedicated herself to saving them and preserving the balance of life
the capturing and money-making of gorillas is horrific enough especially when you are aware of the on-going civil war between the tribes people
it's very distressing to watch the violence being done to the gorillas, I almost wanted to look away several times
still you cant help but root for Dian's love for them and it is sad that if we don't do something soon there will be none of them left in the world
like any living creature gorillas need their families to continue flourishing and extinction is the last thing we want for our ecosystem
I admire Dian Fossey's hard journey to save these gorillas and make sure they still thrive
January 6, 2014
I didn't think it was really good.
December 12, 2013
There's no denying that Gorillas in the Mist is a fascinating picture for the first hour. The second half, however, doesn't tell you anything anthropologically a decent documentary wouldn't tell you, and in the end, you're left wanting to learn more about Dian Fossey as a person.
September 28, 2013
A unique interpretation, wonderful Sigourney Weaver crushes. Moving film, full of emotion.
September 21, 2013
½ September 19, 2013
Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey sound awesome on the surface, chronicling the psychological element of animals and the fighting spirit of the woman Dian Fosseu, as portrayed by my all time favourite actress Sigourney Weaver.

It was good, but not without flaws.
Mainly, the pacing is inconsistent. The story doesn't really thoroughly develop well enough or characterise Dian Fossey over time in the best manner. To be specific, by the time the movie is practically two thirds finished, the story has developed to about a third of the beneficial amount. Then suddenly it cuts to 5 years later where Dian Fossey has changed, but we do not witness the change. We witness her act the same in both time periods, but when a particular situation arises we see a more brutal side to her. Although its conveyed well, it frankly is too big a jump for the good of the story, and for how it's characterising Dian Fossey, the main focus of the story.
Also, we're only given a brief time to embrace the new and changed Dian Fossey, not long enough for us to understand her or comprehend the jump that has happened over the five year change, and then as quick as she's changed, the movie is finished. This really doesn't pay such the strongest tribute to a figure who saved Gorillas from extinction in Rwanda, but rather shrinks the depiction of the real success of what she did to a few scenes and a single period of on screen text at the end which loosely summarises what she did. Basically, Gorillas in the Mist covers two portions of Dian Fossey's life in a very minimalist manner, and doesn't teach nearly as much as it could have.
Much of Gorillas in the Mist faces the problem of not being able to tell its story well. It's more focused on achieving beautiful scenery footage with great cinematography than it is in telling its story of Dian Fossey or in establishing an atmosphere half the time. It's atmosphere isn't established much until the intense sequences, and even then its a struggle. Basically, Michael Apted's role as Director doesn't really explore Dian Fossey enough for us to cement her image in our minds as anything much more than "the gorilla lady played by Sigourney Weaver" which although flattering isn't a befitting tribute.

But still, Gorillas in the Mist is a powerful biopic with some of the most incredible jungle footage ever filmed.
Gorillas in the Mist is a powerful technical achievement because of its astounding cinematography which captures excellent footage if the jungle and of gorillas, assisted in its atmospheric setting by a great musical score. The sound effects and film editing are also great, and it all has a really good nature feel to it which strengthens it immensely.
But what leads it all is the excellent work by lead actress Sigourney Weaver in the titular role. Not only does she flawlessly capture the passion of Dian Fossey when working with substandard direction, but she engages with the set, location and amazingly the gorillas in such an organic and natural manner that she absolutely embodies Dian Fossey and gives her the sense of strength and determination which she requires to be a strong character, and this is what Sigourney Weaver single handedly achieves against the adversity of poor storytelling. Her work in Gorillas in the Mist is some of her finest.
And Bryan Brown made a charismatic screen presence, bringing over Australian charm and the skill of conjuring fine chemistry to make him a terrific on-screen duo with Sigourney Weaver. He engages really well.
Thanks to the charm of the two stars of the film and the great technical accomplishments, Gorillas in the Mist is a film that overshadows its shortcomings at telling its story.
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