Day 14: Out of Africa

“I had a farm in Africa.”

Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), a Danish baroness, was in a passionate love affair. Not with the person she was in a loveless marriage with, but with Africa. And with a mysterious American pilot.


She and her husband had moved to Kenya after she married out of fear of being single forever and bought a coffee plantation on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Her marriage was anything but romantic, and her husband unfaithful. They had nothing in common but their heritage.


Shortly after arriving, she meets Denys, played by Robert Redford, whom you may remember from our first film, “All The President’s Men.” Their shared interests fueled their passion: “a love of books and music. She fed him well and he took her up in his plane to show her the face of Africa from the air.” He was a mystery, a lover of words and adventure. The kind of man you would hope to meet if you left everything you had knew about life and “bought a farm in Africa.” 


Famed director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Sabrina) captured the romance and mystery of Africa. As Roger Ebert said of “Out of Africa,” it “is intelligently written, directed and acted.” After watching the film, I am always left with sadness and loneliness and hope. My fellow film fanatics can attest to this strange combination that is addicting.

He is not wrong. Below is a clip of my favorite scene.

“Out of Africa” is based on a book by the real Karen Blixen that “..had a farm in Africa.” The story remains mostly true to the book, with a few liberties taken. The screenplay was written by Kurt Luedtke, filmed on location in Kenya, Africa, with breathtaking views and scenery that make any blemish in the film disappear into awe.


One of my film critic heroes, Roger Ebert, summarized it best: “It is a movie with the courage to be about complex, sweeping emotions, and to use the star power of its actors without apology. Sydney Pollack…understands the special, somewhat fragile mystique of his star, who has a tendency to seem overprotective of his own image. In the wrong hands, Redford can look narcissistic. This time, he seems to have much to be narcissistic about.”

In my book, Redford can look as narcissistic as he likes. My boyfriend always says he knows if I ever leave him for anyone in Hollywood, it would be Robert Redford.

He is not wrong. Below is a clip of my favorite scene.

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5 thoughts on “Day 14: Out of Africa

  1. Ahhhhhh…. Out of Africa, what a beautiful movie! This was a delight for all the senses. The scenery was breathtaking. I can’t believe I had seen this movie only once before! Merle Streep did maybe one of her best performances (in my humble opinion) and Robert Redford…… ummm, so good! I loved that she could tell a story that captivated her friends and that he loved words, and loved music so much that he brought her a phonograph so they could share the beauty of music. Two scenes remained in my memory from watching this movie so many years ago… the one where he washed her hair while reciting poetry….. I mean, does it get any more romantic than that????? The other was when he took her up in his plane for the first time….. oh, the beauty was so overwhelming to her that she had to reach her hand back and touch him to feel him with her and share this overwhelming moment with him.! To me, these two scenes were more intimate than any involving sex. This movie was beautifully written, directed, acted and filmed. I absolutely loved it. And I think I will be watching it at least once a year. ❤️


    1. I agree!! One of the most beautiful films I’ve seen. The story, the setting. Robert Redford and Meryl Streep were, are, amazing! The washing her hair scene is one of my favorites as well. You are right! I had not thought about the two scenes combined are more than enough for us to see the depth and intimacy between the two main characters.
      I’m glad you liked it and I love it is going to be a film you keep watching every year!


  2. Great recommendation and review! My family and I had a lot of fun watching Out of Africa and I can’t believe it wasn’t on my radar beforehand. My favorite parts/scenes:
    1. The scene when they were around the fireplace talking about freedom and dependence.
    2. I loved how the Baroness convinced the masai to come see her for medical care. She was so clever!
    3. When the kids gathered outside her office so they could watch the clock chime!


    1. I’m so glad you all enjoyed it! It was a beautiful film! The clock chiming scene is one of my favorites as well. The fireplace scene is one of the most moving scenes. Thanks for joining my film journey!


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