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I'm not a film critic, but I'll tell you what I think about the movies I watch. I enjoy understanding the history behind the movies we watch, as well as the collaborative effort necessary to produce movies.

Out of Africa

Out of Africa (1985)

Directed by Sydney Pollack

Starring: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Gough

Meryl Streep and Robert Redford starred together in this 1985 romantic drama. The film would earn eleven Oscar nominations and take home seven statues. These awards included Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Score just to name a few. In addition to Streep and Redford the cast includes talented actors like Klaus Maria Brandauer and Michael Gough. Director Sydney Pollack would win his only directing Oscar for his work on this movie. Pollack had a great career in front and behind the camera. His works included acting in Michael Clayton and directingThe Way We Were.

Meryl Streep has carved out an incredible career in movies. With roles in films like Kramer vs. KramerThe Iron Lady, and Sophie’s Choice she has taken home three Oscars and been nominated for fourteen others. She’s also had great roles in films including The Deer Hunter and Doubt, further solidifying her place in the history of acting.

Robert Redford is no slouch either. He’s has his own share of success, winning an Oscar for 1980’s Ordinary People. He’s also been a part of memorable films like The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Way We Were. In addition to acting Redford has also taken a seat behind the camera and directed some good movies. This includes one of my favorite films, A River Runs Through It.

In addition to the two big names already mentioned, this film also includes the talent of Klaus Maria Brandauer and Michael Gough. Brandauer is most recognizable for his work inNever Say Never Again the 1983 Bond film starring Sean Connery. Michael Gough is most recognizable for his portrayal of the loyal Alfred in four of the Batman films. He had a career that spanned almost six decades.

Karen Dinesen (Streep) has a marriage of convenience with her longtime friend Bror Blixen (Brandauer). In exchange for his title she brings her family money into the relationship. When the two head off to Africa to start a new plantation Karen finds herself interested in Denys (Redford), a cocky and independent game hunter. As Karen and Bror drift apart she finds herself drawn to Denys. Despite his strong desire for independence Denys is also drawn to Karen. This may not be enough as the wilds of Africa keep calling him away from her.

This is a classic romantic drama. The film has so many great elements and tells a powerful story of love and loss. Sydney Pollack definitely deserved his Oscar for this wonderful movie. The camera work takes advantage of the beautiful sets and natural scenery at their disposal. The period clothing is also beautiful and adds to the authentic feel of the story. The movie also shoes off some of the unique wildlife of Africa and the culture of the native people as well. All of the visual elements create an epic movie feel that adds power to the story.

The visual splendor of this movie is complemented by the wonderful score. John Barry did a wonderful job making a score equally as moving as the story itself. This was definitely deserving of the Oscar it earned.In addition to the three Oscars already mentioned, the film won for Best Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Sound and Best Writing.

The movie moves at a slow pace. This wasn’t a problem for me, but it might not appeal to everyone. The story is much like Gone with the Wind in the sense that tragedy takes center stage often. This tragedy might be rough, but the acting of Streep and Redford carry the story nicely. Streep would earn one of her Oscar nominations for her part in this movie. Brandauer is also great as the uncommitted husband, with his scenes really setting up much of the drama in the movie. He would also be nominated for his acting in the film. The rest of the cast all work well to create the background of this historical drama.

I think this is a great movie. The pace is slow, but the message is powerful. I think most people who like romance will enjoy this one. This isn’t a lighthearted movie, so expect rough moments throughout. I give this movie 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 161 minutes


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