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I had a farm in Africa,
The grandest place I ever saw.
I wed a baron to progress
And gain the title Baroness.
 
In Kenya, I grew coffee beans
Amid the vibrant browns and greens.
My dear Kikuyu served me well
And helped my sorrows to dispel.
 
My husband cheated, as I knew,
And brought disease, but I pulled through.
Though forced to leave, my whole heart burned
And would not rest till I returned.
 
I met a man named Denys, who
Would visit me and closer drew.
He’d take Mozart on long safari,
Months away, but never sorry.
 
I’d tell him tales, made up alone,
Of places I had never known,
And he showed me the country’s sights
And took me to God’s lofty heights.
 
A crop of plenty would not stay,
For fire took it all away;
In fire, Denys too was lost,
My stay in Kenya’s final cost.
 
I read a poem above his grave
And tried my tribal friends to save.
I left, respected by the men,
But I’ll see Denys once again.
_____________________
 

Another Meryl Streep classic, Out of Africa is one of my VC’s favorite films for three main reasons: Streep’s strong, Oscar-nominated performance; the gloriously iconic score; and, of course, Robert Redford in fine form. Showcasing her skill with accents (in this case, Danish), Meryl Streep makes Karen Blixen, a.k.a. author Isak Dineson, a compelling character who happens to have both good and bad taste in men. Klaus Maria Brandauer was also nominated for an Oscar as her philandering husband Bror, but, with his laid-back confidence and appreciation of Africa’s thrills and beauty, it’s obvious why Redford captures Karen’s attention more. (Interesting note: Denys Finch Hatton’s real compass was used in the movie, but someone stole it during filming.) While it may be true to the book, most of the main characters seem to arbitrarily sleep around, and, since I prefer more pure romances, some scenes that were meant to be utterly romantic didn’t engage me as they might others.

The film is rather slow and boring in parts and is an obvious chick flick; even an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond labeled it a “girly” movie. Yet, unlike a tired rom com, this film features a number of realistic, ill-fated relationships, as well as some truly magnificent cinematography that displays Africa’s natural grandeur, particularly during the plane ride montage. I also like how the native Kikuyu tribe is sympathetically depicted and how Karen assists and protects them, earning their respect and affection. The scene in the gentlemen’s clubhouse toward the end is reminiscent of the finale of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and is just as satisfying in its display of well-deserved deference.

Out of Africa won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and stands as a tribute to the life of a great writer, who sadly never returned to her beloved Africa. With a haunting score that will play in your mind long after the credits roll, Out of Africa is a touching, often wistful romance that deserved every one of its accolades.

Best line: (Karen, about Denys) “Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.”

 
Artistry: 10
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 6
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 8
Watchability: 7
 
TOTAL: 48 out of 60
 

Next: #145 – The Little Mermaid

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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