Out of Africa is one of those big epics that the Academy loves to honor – breathtaking shots of exotic landscapes, a sweeping score, a doomed love story. But: these types of movies usually only get attention from the Oscars if they are done well. And Out of Africa certainly is. Lead by Meryl Streep and her Danish accent, Out of Africa tells the story of writer Karen Blixen – a story of a farm in Africa, an uncaring husband and a tragic love affair.
Oscar-winner Sidney Pollack brought all this to life with a lush and sometimes a little overproduced movie that obviously enjoys its own length and opulence. Out of Africa does never really uses its screen time to explore the characters since the story itself is rather simple and the characters go through an unsurprising and expected arc but instead the movie uses every opportunity for long shots of the African landscapes, for a slow growth of a new love – to sum it up, Out of Africa takes time to develop more quiet and little moments, to show a love affair embedded in the African environment. That way it becomes the kind of movie that can easily bore a lot of viewers while captivating the others.
In the supporting role of Karen’s husband, Klaus Maria Brandauer gives an intriguing portrayal of an unlikable character.
Out of Africa truly manages to capture the feeling of an exotic and unknown country and keeps a nice balance between the plot and the characters on the one side and the technical values on the other. It also doesn’t concern itself with too serious topics – themes like war, the colonies, the supposed superiority of the Europeans over the natives are never truly touched which works well in the context of the way the film is presented.
Overall, it’s a beautiful and engaging picture that tells a simple story in an opulent way.