Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Out of Africa (1985)

Starring Robert Redford & Meryl Streep

Rating 9/10

This is one of those films that spans continents and history. Wars happen and relationships fall apart. There are exotic locations and beasts and you know that high drama is just around the corner.

Wealthy spinster, Karen Dinesen (Streep) proposes to her buddy Bror Blixen (Klaus Maria Brandauer) in her homeland of Denmark. Crazy kids, they decide to move to Africa to build a new life for themselves. After a quick marriage, they move onto their new farm.

Bror is not the nicest of characters. He lies to her about their dairy farm plans, instead planting coffee plants and sows his own seed around town like it’s nobody’s business. He loves his freedom and his time away from his new bride which leaves Karen lonely and unhappy. Enter the suave and dashing Denys Finch Hatton (Redford) who she meets after he saves her from the jaws of a prowling lioness.

Karen eventually contracts syphilis from her cheating hubby and heads home to Denmark to recover. When she returns to Africa she kicks Bror out of the house and starts hanging out with the dreamy Denys. They safari together, tell each other stories, eat, drink and ultimately are very merry.

But a storm is brewing. Karen realises that Denys is not the settling kind. Like Bror, he prefers his own company! The girl can’t seem to catch a romantic break here. Things get bad when the coffee plantation burns down, she kicks the D man out and Karen finds herself, once again, on her own.

Time to head back to the motherland. Once last dance, kiss, soulful look into Denys’ eyes and it’s farewell to Africa… where she once had a farm… in Africa.

This is an epic movie. It is long and beautiful and poignant. I love Karen. She is strong, vulnerable, poetic and honest. Streep is at her best here. I would have liked more chemistry between Denys and Karen but I’m really just being fussy.

Africa is the star here: the people, animals, plains, history… so darn interesting… just fascinating. The music is beautiful, it soars as does the story, as does the beauty. The story is poetry in motion and I totally enjoyed it.

Out of Africa Trivia:

  • Budget – $28 Million
  • Trained lions were shipped to Africa from California as the Kenyan Government didn’t allow wild animals to be used in films.
  • A lot of the furniture was the real Karen Blixen’s own after she left most of it in Africa after she left.
  • In the scene where Karen is fighting off the lion, Streep was told that the lion would be partially tied up. It wasn’t so the look of horror on Streep’s face is genuine.
  • The movie was filmed near the Ngong Hills where the real Karen lived.
  • Audrey Hepburn was considered for the role of Karen.
  • In the scene where Karen meets her servants, Director Sydney Pollack filmed it in one long take. After he yelled “Cut”, Streep ripped open her top and revealed a huge beetle crawling on her and screamed for someone to get it off her! Talk about professionalism.

Onwards and upwards. From Africa to Vietnam. Yep, we’re back to the war movies here. Get ready for Platoon starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and a young Charlie Sheen. Hold onto your hats!!


One comment on “Best Picture – Out of Africa (1985)

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