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Oscars Challenge #67: Out Of Africa (1985) Movie Review

Out of Africa Poster

Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the most talented actresses of all time. Her performances in Sophie's Choice, The Devil Wears Prada, Kramer vs. Kramer, and The Deer Hunter are phenomenal. If there were a list of the greatest actresses of all time, I am sure she would be on that list.

The same goes for Robert Redford; with his performances in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, I can honestly say he is also an outstanding actor.

Two monumental actors show their acting prowess through sensational performances and join forces in this 1985 Best Picture film Out of Africa. What could go wrong?

Almost everything.


Out of Africa tells the true story told from the perspectives of Baroness Karen von Blixen and her experiences in Africa, where she moved in 1913. She is en route to Nairobi and plans to set up a ranch there. Along the way, she is greeted by a hunter named Denys Finch Hatton, who knows her fiancee personally and entrusts his ivory to her.

Upon arriving, Karen learns from her brother that he invested her money in a coffee farm. She also knows the land is unsuitable for such a plantation because of the elevation.

Soon, Karen begins to love the African people. She treats them kindly and does not view them as enslaved people on her plantation. She establishes a school and helps them with their medical needs. Karen also develops feelings for her fiancee's brother, Bror, and has sexual relationships with him.

After World War I, she discovers she contracted syphilis and cannot bear children. She and Bror live separately while being attended by Denys. The two develop a relationship, and he starts to live with her. However, Karen desires a loyal marriage, but Denys has a different point of view, and their relationship is tested.

Directed by Sydney Pollack.


Before anything else, I want to specify first what I like about this film.

Africa has great views, and the movie shows them with that beautiful wide angle and aerial shots. Seeing those vast landscapes that feel like they can stretch through eternity is genuinely mesmerizing. The acting of the two main actors, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, is on-point as well. Even though this movie has a boring plot or storyline, the two actors' performances didn't diminish. I still view them as talented actors.

That's pretty much it.

The movie is boring, considering it is almost three hours long. The pacing is weird. The characters are rather unlikable and often make bad decisions that make them and the story suffers. The chemistry between Karen and Denys does not click, even though this is a historical movie. I almost dozed off while watching this movie. It's like watching Titanic but removing the entertainment.

This movie might be one of those years that the Academy got it wrong. I am not sure if this is the Best Picture winner because of the incredible cinematography, but it's one thing that you will instantly forget easily.

A very disappointing 1 out of 5 stars.

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