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My review of Out of Africa

May 26, 2014

I had a busy day in front of the TV today. One big chunk of my day was spent watching the 1985 Best Picture Oscar winner Out of Africa. Meryl Streep plays a rich, Danish baroness who twists her friend’s arm into marriage. They then move to Africa to raise cattle. However, as soon as they arrive, he informs her that they will be planting coffee and that he basically won’t be sticking around. It was a marriage of convenience after all. He just didn’t find it very convenient. He runs off to hunt for as long as he wants, and to sleep with as many women as pleases him. She falls in love with Robert Redford. Poor woman. Meryl’s Danish accent is not very solid. It comes and goes between Danish, South African, British, and what sounded something like French a time or two. Robert Redford plays a British (or is he South African?) big-game hunter with not even the slightest attempt at a British accent. Klaus Maria Brandauer plays the convenient husband, a not-so-moneyed man who agrees to marriage because he needs money for his hunting trips and sexual escapades. The music is beautiful as there is quite a bit of Mozart played throughout, along with some Wagner and other classical pieces. Much of the scenery is beautiful as well. You wouldn’t know that there was so much green in Africa from watching the news, but the grass and hills of the countryside near the movie’s plantation home are beautiful. Throughout the film, Karen, Streep’s character, deals with different problems, including local natives, World War I, fire, and a bad case of syphilis. Other familiar faces popping up in the movie are: Michael Gough (Alfred the butler from Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin), and Iman. Basically, the movie is a romantic epic. It is overly long and feels like it. It is slow-moving. It drags. I could possibly watch more of the airplane scene, because that really showed off a lot of the beautiful scenery, but in the movie it was only about two minutes long. It could have used more of that and less of the rest of the 2 hours and 41 minutes that it took to watch it. To sum up, it’s beautiful to look at in parts, it has beautiful music, but is not one I would care to see again. What were the Academy voters thinking in 1985? They could have voted for Back to the Future! Next up: Someday I will be able to track down copies of the only two Best Picture winners that I have never seen, which are 1933’s Cavalcade, and 1963’s Tom Jones. If you happen to see either of them in your local library let me know.

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