Out of Africa

1985

Out of Africa

Critics Consensus

Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.

60%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 48

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 40,252
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Movie Info

Out of Africa is drawn from the life and writings of Danish author Isak Dinesen, who during the time that the film's events occured was known by her married name, Karen Blixen-Flecke. For convenience's sake, Karen (Meryl Streep) has married Baron Bor Blixen-Flecke (Klaus Maria Brandauer). In 1914, the Baron moves himself and his wife to a plantation in Nairobi, then leaves Karen to her own devices as he returns to his womanizing and drinking. Soon, Karen has fallen in love with charming white hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford), who prefers a no-strings relationship. A woman who prides herself on her independence, Blixen finds herself unhappily in thrall to a aloof man -- and doubly unhappy for living out such a cliché situation. Although Redford received a lion's share of criticism for his too-American performance, Streep has rarely been better, and the film's perfectly measured pace is offset by David Watkin's stunning location photography. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won 7, including Best Picture, Best Director for Sydney Pollack, Best Adapted Screenplay for Kurt Luedtke, and Best Cinematography for Watkin. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Out of Africa

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (19)

  • The scale of its protagonist's obsessiveness is what gives Out of Africa its splendor.

    Apr 25, 2018 | Full Review…

    Jay Carr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Meryl Streep is back in top form. This means that her performance in Out of Africa is at the highest level of acting in film today. Since she is Streep, it means that a return to form is not a return: she has realized a character utterly different.

    Jan 8, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The relationship between Karen Blixen and her British lover, Denys Finch Hatton, may fail to catch fire. But the production itself is so exquisitely served that you can't help but be grateful for this extraordinary visual treat.

    Feb 21, 2015 | Full Review…
  • The relationship of Karen and Denys is a prickly and, despite the era in which it is set, curiously modern one. It's also at the heart of this understated movie.

    Jan 6, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Streep may convince us utterly that she is in love with Africa, but our views of it are a little too stately to really feel the place.

    Jan 6, 2014 | Full Review…
  • My basic problem with this otherwise sumptuous and well-acted film is that I never was able to accept Redford in character.

    Jan 6, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Out of Africa

  • Apr 22, 2019
    The one thing I miss about filmmaking in this modern era, they don't make films like this anymore. This is a long and well made film with characters at the centre. The cast is amazing and the filmmaker makes for a long emotional journey. A little flawed due to historic inaccuracies, but not uncompromising in execution. The length may result in some negative scores, but these films were a dime a dozen and I miss them. You have all the character you can swallow and when bad things happen, it means something to the characters and the viewers. Flawed film, but never dull. 20/04/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2018
    A sumptuous romantic drama that not only dazzles us with its gorgeous cinematography and art direction but sweeps us with the complexity of the characters' emotions and feelings (what unites and separates them), with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in splendid performances.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2014
    A renowned romantic epic of the 80s, Out of Africa is a long, though undoubtedly grand, spectacle. The film centers on Isak Dinesen, known as Karen Blixen-Flecke, a Danish woman who marries, largely for convenience, her friend Baron Bor Blixen-Flecke, soon embarking to her farm in Africa. It is here that she encounters a different sort of way of life, and meets the inevitable swashbuckler, Denys Finch Hatton, an easy man to be enchanted with but a difficult man to love. The film has a lot going for it, notably its absolutely beautiful cinematography, capturing the captivating and epic African wilderness. Its cast is an admirable one, with Meryl Streep giving her characteristic powerhouse performance, supported by the talented Robert Redford and even Klaus Maria Brandauer. We can't help but be taken with their dynamics, and with the films backdrop, we are swept up in the sheer gravitas of what's going on. This keeps the film engaging and enjoyable for its almost three hour run. There's two notable criticisms, however, that stand out for the Oscar winning epic. One, the narration by Meryl Streep is overdone, and the accent much too thick, something that doesn't match her cadence in the actual film. This is both annoying and distracting. Second, the relationship between Streep and Redford is never quite as believable as it should be. The chemistry between the two seemed inconsistent, with Redford's characterization being the weakest of the film. We never quite "buy" him, we're introduced to him in one of the opening scenes, and the film never feels much of a need to really elaborate on his back-story or motivations outside of that. Overall, however, the film is simply too well executed from both a technical level, and from a narrative standpoint not be compelled by. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2014
    Sydney Pollack's film is full of good imagery but this story didn't need Africa. It is a tale of love told over and over again. The question is whether we needed yet another adaptation.
    John B Super Reviewer

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