Out of Africa Reviews

  • Apr 07, 2021

    I don't understand why there are so many negative reviews of this (boring, too long, badly acted, sappy music). To me, this 1985 is one of the top 10 movies of all time. I've seen it at least ten times. It is superbly cast and acted. Streep is perfect in conveying a Danish woman. The film courageously shows how life can be a series unending strife and failure that only the strongest can survive, with all too few bits of joy sprinkled in. All of the main characters show the difficulties and complexities of human relationships. The film has great subtlety (maybe that's why some viewers got bored), photography that really conveys the wonders of 1915 Africa, and a deeply evocative score from master movie composer John Barry. His score is haunting and full of grief and is so expressive that it acts as another character. There are many supporting characters that serve to deepen the story and relationships. I found myself caring deeply for Baroness Blixen and the Kikuyu she cared about. There are no flaws that I can detect. It's not a film about right and wrong, just surviving. It's also just not a film made for insensitive people.

    I don't understand why there are so many negative reviews of this (boring, too long, badly acted, sappy music). To me, this 1985 is one of the top 10 movies of all time. I've seen it at least ten times. It is superbly cast and acted. Streep is perfect in conveying a Danish woman. The film courageously shows how life can be a series unending strife and failure that only the strongest can survive, with all too few bits of joy sprinkled in. All of the main characters show the difficulties and complexities of human relationships. The film has great subtlety (maybe that's why some viewers got bored), photography that really conveys the wonders of 1915 Africa, and a deeply evocative score from master movie composer John Barry. His score is haunting and full of grief and is so expressive that it acts as another character. There are many supporting characters that serve to deepen the story and relationships. I found myself caring deeply for Baroness Blixen and the Kikuyu she cared about. There are no flaws that I can detect. It's not a film about right and wrong, just surviving. It's also just not a film made for insensitive people.

  • Mar 16, 2021

    One of my very favorite movies of all time. Meryl Streep nails her performance, and who can resist the charm of Robert Redford and the beauty of Africa amidst a tale based on the real life of an amazing woman?

    One of my very favorite movies of all time. Meryl Streep nails her performance, and who can resist the charm of Robert Redford and the beauty of Africa amidst a tale based on the real life of an amazing woman?

  • Mar 01, 2021

    This may have been the movie that drew me to the film industry. I was a young kid. My parents were watching it on VHS. I didn't care for nor understand the romance at the time, but the music by John Barry and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, and the staggering cinematography by David Watkin ASC struck me deep. Both won Oscars. It showed me Kenya in such an impactful way that I would end up there for work years later.

    This may have been the movie that drew me to the film industry. I was a young kid. My parents were watching it on VHS. I didn't care for nor understand the romance at the time, but the music by John Barry and Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, and the staggering cinematography by David Watkin ASC struck me deep. Both won Oscars. It showed me Kenya in such an impactful way that I would end up there for work years later.

  • Feb 11, 2021

    (a "gotta go in to come out of" film review by Timothy J. Verret) OUT OF AFRICA is a film about what we all have to do in our life's journeys: We gotta go inside ourselves to come out of the places that either store the treasures we need or troubles that no longer serve us. For Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Danish author also known by her pen name, Isak Dinesen), her journeys were going into Africa, then coming out of Africa, then going back into Africa, and then coming out of Africa again, this time for good. Sometimes it takes many "gotta go in to come out of" journeys for us to heal. Sometimes this is the case, yes, but "gotta go in" ourselves to heal is ALWAYS the case! Directed by Sydney Pollack, this film is beautifully sweeping as far as cinematography, even if it's not exquisitely sweeping as far as an emotional landscape. Meryl Streep is brilliant as Karen, though Streep is always brilliant in every character she plays. Robert Redford plays her love interest, Denys, and although Denys' dialogue strikes the chord of the film's heart, Redford is underwhelming. Might a different actor been chosen, the emotional landscape might have been more sweeping. Denys helped Karen see something that many of us need to see: No one owns anything or anyone, not even ourselves. Denys could not be owned, though Karen tried her darndest to own him. Karen thought she owned her coffee plantation and the Kikuyu she tried to employ and educate, but Denys called her out on this with his declaration, "We're just passing through." Yes, we are ALL "just passing through" God's Landscape, owning nothing or no one and, yes, not even ourselves. Karen even thought she owned Africa, until Denys gave her a glimpse through God's Eye of what she thought she owned. This very scene was a scene that I had the pleasure of viewing in a movie theatre when I initially saw the film when it came out in 1985. I remember it like it was yesterday: The beautiful score began and showed the plane Karen and Denys were in and then, I kid you not, you could have heard a pin drop in the theatre when God's Eye held all of us in that room spellbound. God intended for Karen to know that just as she viewed at that moment God's nonhuman animals as precious, wild, and free, so did God intend her, and all of us in that room, to know the same thing. It was a moment in a movie theatre that was a defining moment in my "gotta go in myself to heal" life. When Karen first "gotta go in" to Africa, she went there to marry her lover's brother. When Karen "come out of" Africa, she had to be cured from syphilis. When Karen "gotta go in" the next time to Africa, it was to go in to finish what she started, particularly with Denys. When Karen "come out of" Africa for the next and last time, she went "out of Africa," because she finished all she started, owning nothing she finished with, particularly with Denys. It's this kind of "gotta go inside to come out of" that makes all our trips to Africa meaningful. But we don't have to travel to Africa or anywhere to get this meaning, because the travel is an inner journey, travels of beautiful and brutal (BOTH) landscapes of our hearts and our minds. It's travels of "test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind" (Psalm 26:2). It's a test (and a testimony) for examining how we own nothing and no one, not even our own hearts and our own minds. Only God owns these things. We're "just passing through," whether we are in Africa or whether we are in loneliness. I can't begin to count how many times I have said that this loneliness of "just passing through" is simply because we are not "home" (Heaven) yet! Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Isak Dinesen) died on September 7, 1962; after "gotta go in to come out of" for the last time, Karen went "home" and is probably now watching all she didn't own from God's Eye. The scenes where animals were hunted and/or killed in this film are one place I care not to "gotta go in to come out of." One scene where lions killed some cattle was particularly disturbing to me, as this film was before technology could stage this through a computer without the actual event (and killing of nonhuman animals) taking place. Unless I'm wrong, those cattle were actually killed by lions, and no form of entertainment, I don't care what it is, is worth this actual event of killing actual animals. It's an observation I make now that I did not make when I first saw the film. I have to say I now take to "owning" very seriously the right to be a voice for God's voiceless nonhuman animals. Even with a not-too-sweeping emotional landscape, this film did get me near in the end in two scenes that examined my (God's) heart and mind. When Karen was "going out of Africa" for the last time, Farah, a Somali headman hired by her husband, wanted to know if he could go where Karen was going. She told him that very much like he would make a fire so that she could find him on safari, she would make a fire for him. Farah responded, "You must make this fire very big, so that I can find you." That tore me up. The second scene was the very ending, when news got back to Karen after "gotta go in to come out of" Africa that a lion and lioness were often seen (spoiler alert!) lying on Denys' grave where they had a spectacular view of Africa. That tore me up, too, and it was very difficult for me not to recall this Bible verse: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6). We "gotta go in to come out of" who and what we do not own. We travel, yes, but we own not this travel. We love, yes, but we own not this love. God owns all of this! Just the other day, I was talking to a friend and we were talking about travels. I mentioned I always wanted to go to Africa on a safari to see God's nonhuman animals precious, wild and free. His response was, "you're gonna get eaten alive!" No I won't, for how I appreciate God's nonhuman animals precious, wild and free is exactly how God's nonhuman animals appreciate me precious, wild and free. And even if I am eaten alive, I will be tasted as a perfectly seasoned dish, i.e., no ownership of anything or anyone, not even me. PLEASE NOTE: OUT OF AFRICA won 7 Academy Awards (Oscars), including Best Picture and Best Director, Sydney Pollack, but THE COLOR PURPLE was clearly and quite obviously The Best Picture of that year. I thought Steven Spielberg was nominated for Best Director of THE COLOR PURPLE that year, but he wasn't. Like WTF?! (what the forgiveness?!). Spielberg did, however, win the well-deserved Director's Guild of America (DGA) that year.

    (a "gotta go in to come out of" film review by Timothy J. Verret) OUT OF AFRICA is a film about what we all have to do in our life's journeys: We gotta go inside ourselves to come out of the places that either store the treasures we need or troubles that no longer serve us. For Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Danish author also known by her pen name, Isak Dinesen), her journeys were going into Africa, then coming out of Africa, then going back into Africa, and then coming out of Africa again, this time for good. Sometimes it takes many "gotta go in to come out of" journeys for us to heal. Sometimes this is the case, yes, but "gotta go in" ourselves to heal is ALWAYS the case! Directed by Sydney Pollack, this film is beautifully sweeping as far as cinematography, even if it's not exquisitely sweeping as far as an emotional landscape. Meryl Streep is brilliant as Karen, though Streep is always brilliant in every character she plays. Robert Redford plays her love interest, Denys, and although Denys' dialogue strikes the chord of the film's heart, Redford is underwhelming. Might a different actor been chosen, the emotional landscape might have been more sweeping. Denys helped Karen see something that many of us need to see: No one owns anything or anyone, not even ourselves. Denys could not be owned, though Karen tried her darndest to own him. Karen thought she owned her coffee plantation and the Kikuyu she tried to employ and educate, but Denys called her out on this with his declaration, "We're just passing through." Yes, we are ALL "just passing through" God's Landscape, owning nothing or no one and, yes, not even ourselves. Karen even thought she owned Africa, until Denys gave her a glimpse through God's Eye of what she thought she owned. This very scene was a scene that I had the pleasure of viewing in a movie theatre when I initially saw the film when it came out in 1985. I remember it like it was yesterday: The beautiful score began and showed the plane Karen and Denys were in and then, I kid you not, you could have heard a pin drop in the theatre when God's Eye held all of us in that room spellbound. God intended for Karen to know that just as she viewed at that moment God's nonhuman animals as precious, wild, and free, so did God intend her, and all of us in that room, to know the same thing. It was a moment in a movie theatre that was a defining moment in my "gotta go in myself to heal" life. When Karen first "gotta go in" to Africa, she went there to marry her lover's brother. When Karen "come out of" Africa, she had to be cured from syphilis. When Karen "gotta go in" the next time to Africa, it was to go in to finish what she started, particularly with Denys. When Karen "come out of" Africa for the next and last time, she went "out of Africa," because she finished all she started, owning nothing she finished with, particularly with Denys. It's this kind of "gotta go inside to come out of" that makes all our trips to Africa meaningful. But we don't have to travel to Africa or anywhere to get this meaning, because the travel is an inner journey, travels of beautiful and brutal (BOTH) landscapes of our hearts and our minds. It's travels of "test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind" (Psalm 26:2). It's a test (and a testimony) for examining how we own nothing and no one, not even our own hearts and our own minds. Only God owns these things. We're "just passing through," whether we are in Africa or whether we are in loneliness. I can't begin to count how many times I have said that this loneliness of "just passing through" is simply because we are not "home" (Heaven) yet! Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (Isak Dinesen) died on September 7, 1962; after "gotta go in to come out of" for the last time, Karen went "home" and is probably now watching all she didn't own from God's Eye. The scenes where animals were hunted and/or killed in this film are one place I care not to "gotta go in to come out of." One scene where lions killed some cattle was particularly disturbing to me, as this film was before technology could stage this through a computer without the actual event (and killing of nonhuman animals) taking place. Unless I'm wrong, those cattle were actually killed by lions, and no form of entertainment, I don't care what it is, is worth this actual event of killing actual animals. It's an observation I make now that I did not make when I first saw the film. I have to say I now take to "owning" very seriously the right to be a voice for God's voiceless nonhuman animals. Even with a not-too-sweeping emotional landscape, this film did get me near in the end in two scenes that examined my (God's) heart and mind. When Karen was "going out of Africa" for the last time, Farah, a Somali headman hired by her husband, wanted to know if he could go where Karen was going. She told him that very much like he would make a fire so that she could find him on safari, she would make a fire for him. Farah responded, "You must make this fire very big, so that I can find you." That tore me up. The second scene was the very ending, when news got back to Karen after "gotta go in to come out of" Africa that a lion and lioness were often seen (spoiler alert!) lying on Denys' grave where they had a spectacular view of Africa. That tore me up, too, and it was very difficult for me not to recall this Bible verse: The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6). We "gotta go in to come out of" who and what we do not own. We travel, yes, but we own not this travel. We love, yes, but we own not this love. God owns all of this! Just the other day, I was talking to a friend and we were talking about travels. I mentioned I always wanted to go to Africa on a safari to see God's nonhuman animals precious, wild and free. His response was, "you're gonna get eaten alive!" No I won't, for how I appreciate God's nonhuman animals precious, wild and free is exactly how God's nonhuman animals appreciate me precious, wild and free. And even if I am eaten alive, I will be tasted as a perfectly seasoned dish, i.e., no ownership of anything or anyone, not even me. PLEASE NOTE: OUT OF AFRICA won 7 Academy Awards (Oscars), including Best Picture and Best Director, Sydney Pollack, but THE COLOR PURPLE was clearly and quite obviously The Best Picture of that year. I thought Steven Spielberg was nominated for Best Director of THE COLOR PURPLE that year, but he wasn't. Like WTF?! (what the forgiveness?!). Spielberg did, however, win the well-deserved Director's Guild of America (DGA) that year.

  • Feb 02, 2021

    "Out of Africa" boasts many gorgeous and jaw-dropping scenic views. It also has some decent lead performances from the two leads. This does not mean it is a good movie. I really don't know what the Academy was thinking choosing this as the Best Picture winner of 1985. This movie is so insanely boring and pretty much nothing in it had my interest. This movie does not even reach the 3-hour mark but it felt like an eternity before it ended. Overall, this is easily one of the worst Best Picture winners I have seen until now and I personally found no enjoyment in it outside of a few impressive moments of beautiful camerawork.

    "Out of Africa" boasts many gorgeous and jaw-dropping scenic views. It also has some decent lead performances from the two leads. This does not mean it is a good movie. I really don't know what the Academy was thinking choosing this as the Best Picture winner of 1985. This movie is so insanely boring and pretty much nothing in it had my interest. This movie does not even reach the 3-hour mark but it felt like an eternity before it ended. Overall, this is easily one of the worst Best Picture winners I have seen until now and I personally found no enjoyment in it outside of a few impressive moments of beautiful camerawork.

  • Jan 19, 2021

    Very interesting and classic film, with good cinematography and direction, but the script is bad and simple

    Very interesting and classic film, with good cinematography and direction, but the script is bad and simple

  • Jan 19, 2021

    Good performances by Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, but the whole film seems to be too emotionally distant from the characters.

    Good performances by Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, but the whole film seems to be too emotionally distant from the characters.

  • Dec 25, 2020

    An almost impossibly poor winner of the best picture academy award. I love an epic but this is just epically boring. The acting is atrocious too. I'll give Streep benefit of the doubt that she couldn't do much with the script but Redford's performance is inexcusably rubbish and he didn't even try to do an English accent. A film that packs no emotional punch, has an excessively syrupy score and a plot that meanders nowhere at all over such a long stretch is beyond belief. Who on earth was entertained by this or thought it award worthy. Bizarre. To my mind it is a stand-alone candidate for worst Best picture winner ever and I've seen driving miss daisy so that's saying something. I never want to be put through this level of interminable boredom by a film ever again. Painful.

    An almost impossibly poor winner of the best picture academy award. I love an epic but this is just epically boring. The acting is atrocious too. I'll give Streep benefit of the doubt that she couldn't do much with the script but Redford's performance is inexcusably rubbish and he didn't even try to do an English accent. A film that packs no emotional punch, has an excessively syrupy score and a plot that meanders nowhere at all over such a long stretch is beyond belief. Who on earth was entertained by this or thought it award worthy. Bizarre. To my mind it is a stand-alone candidate for worst Best picture winner ever and I've seen driving miss daisy so that's saying something. I never want to be put through this level of interminable boredom by a film ever again. Painful.

  • Dec 20, 2020

    Absolutely unfaithful to the movie, and very boring

    Absolutely unfaithful to the movie, and very boring

  • Nov 22, 2020

    Out Of Africa, a.k.a. The Many Hats Of Meryl Streep, has long been called one of the worst films to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture, and having seen it for the first time yesterday, it's hard to argue with that assessment. It certainly looks like an Oscar winner. Exotic setting, gorgeous visuals, stunning cinematography, big names in the lead roles, an inflated runtime and a frequently languid pace. It's all here, and it's about as interesting as you'd imagine. The first hour or so is actually pretty enjoyable, mainly because things are actually happening. Characters are being introduced, relationships are being established, relevant things are being said. The plot is moving along, and I was interested in what was happening. Our heroine finds herself working alone on a coffee bean farm because her husband is off galivanting round the country. I think if the film had focused on that then I might have liked it, but when the romance with Robert Redford's Denys takes centre stage, everything goes wrong. The film goes from being a tale of struggling for prosperity in a foreign land to a vapid tourism commercial with a drippy melodrama taking up the foreground. The romance would have been much better served as a sub-plot which just came up now and then, but it consumes the second half of the runtime and the film suffers badly as a result. It's like the director wanted to demonstrate the sheer beauty of Kenya, which, in fairness, he does, but the only way to capture it was to have 2 people wandering around in the wilderness, doing little more than having a series of tedious arguments. The performances are great, as you'd expect from the calibre of the cast, but the film has no reason to be as long as it is, and could do with having about an hour cut out of it. It's understandable why there's been such a backlash against it in the years since its release, and aside from its stunning visuals and talented performances, there's little to recommend in this 2 hour and 40-minute motion picture postcard.

    Out Of Africa, a.k.a. The Many Hats Of Meryl Streep, has long been called one of the worst films to ever win the Oscar for Best Picture, and having seen it for the first time yesterday, it's hard to argue with that assessment. It certainly looks like an Oscar winner. Exotic setting, gorgeous visuals, stunning cinematography, big names in the lead roles, an inflated runtime and a frequently languid pace. It's all here, and it's about as interesting as you'd imagine. The first hour or so is actually pretty enjoyable, mainly because things are actually happening. Characters are being introduced, relationships are being established, relevant things are being said. The plot is moving along, and I was interested in what was happening. Our heroine finds herself working alone on a coffee bean farm because her husband is off galivanting round the country. I think if the film had focused on that then I might have liked it, but when the romance with Robert Redford's Denys takes centre stage, everything goes wrong. The film goes from being a tale of struggling for prosperity in a foreign land to a vapid tourism commercial with a drippy melodrama taking up the foreground. The romance would have been much better served as a sub-plot which just came up now and then, but it consumes the second half of the runtime and the film suffers badly as a result. It's like the director wanted to demonstrate the sheer beauty of Kenya, which, in fairness, he does, but the only way to capture it was to have 2 people wandering around in the wilderness, doing little more than having a series of tedious arguments. The performances are great, as you'd expect from the calibre of the cast, but the film has no reason to be as long as it is, and could do with having about an hour cut out of it. It's understandable why there's been such a backlash against it in the years since its release, and aside from its stunning visuals and talented performances, there's little to recommend in this 2 hour and 40-minute motion picture postcard.