I have to admit; it’s taken me this long to get to this one because everything I’d heard about it indicated it would be one of the roughest ones I had left to watch. I’ll put it this way: there are only four films that have won Best Picture that currently have a below-60% Rotten rating on RottenTomatoes, and only one of those somehow ended up on the list. This is that film. If I hadn’t known going into it that Out of Africa was a Sydney Pollack film, I doubt I would’ve guessed it, even with the fact that I’ve only seen two of his films before this one. This is just too much Oscar bait for me to have attributed this to Sydney Pollack, or at least the director I thought he was.
Meryl Streep stars as Karen Blixen, who has entered into what Wikipedia calls a marriage of convenience with Baron Blixen, and together they move to Africa to start their new lives. It’s during her voyage down to Africa that she first meets Denys Hatton, played by Robert Redford, and after her husband the Baron takes advantage of the “marriage of convenience” to sleep around, she finds herself drawn to Denys, and the film traces the path of their rather rocky relationship. If that plot summary doesn’t seem all that original, you can’t be blamed for thinking so; it basically isn’t. But, this isn’t a film to watch for the plot; this is a film to watch for the visuals. Everything, from the landscapes to the production value is very nearly limitless; truly the production value in this is second to none. The film utilizes every scrap of the African landscape, coming very close to being scenery porn, and it only seemed natural that such lavish environments would lend itself well enough to the cinematography for it to win an Academy Award. Everything else was typically good, but from an Oscar-squeezing picture like this one, is that even the slightest bit surprising?
So yeah, this Oscar-favored film walked away with seven Oscars come Oscar night, which should shock no one. Honestly, it’s getting a little tiring having to come up with things to say about films like this; if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. Should you see this film? If you have yet to see any of the other Oscar bait films that are just like it, sure, if you can stand the nearly three hour running time. Otherwise, it’s not something you haven’t seen before, and knowing how much cinema loves its Oscars, it’ll likely be something you’ll see again at some point in the future.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10