“I had a farm in Africa.”
Karen (Streep) is a Danish woman who marries her lover’s brother, Bror (Klaus Maria Brandauer), out of convenience and to have the title of Baroness. It seems she’s destined for a normal, boring woman’s life, until her husband moves them to Kenya, Africa. They agree to run a cattle farm, but when she arrives, Bror informs her that they’re going to grow coffee instead, a risky task that has never been tried at that elevation before and won’t turn a profit for years. Throughout their marriage, Bror pulls more stupid surprises like this on Karen, but thankfully, it only makes her a stronger woman.
World War I starts up and the men go to protect their lands, while Karen is left to take care of the whole farm. When people come around to round up all the women and children for their safety, Karen rides out into the African wilderness to join her husband and the men to fight. We watch in excitement as Karen realizes that she has no fear and can scare away lions attacking her camp in the middle of the night.
Since Bror is gone most of the time, Karen starts seeing a hunter, Denys (Robert Redford). Their relationship grows from him making sure lions don’t attack her to romance where he kind of moves in with Karen. But the fact that he goes on safari without her bothers Karen.
It seems that she yearns for the traditional life of a wife, but it’s too late forthat. She’s a part of African colonization, helps educate the natives, befriends them and runs the coffee farm she didn’t even want all on her own. The epic story of a woman stepping up and braving the wilds of Africa all around her is astounding and moving.
What really won me over to let Out of Africa reign in 1985 was the cinematography. From beginning to end, every shot is just beautiful. Images of giraffes running across the African plane in the hazy sunset is just breathtaking. The airplane scene is like meditation for the eyes and ears. Though it’s three hours long, this film is one to be seen because of what you see.
“Think of it, never a man made sound and then Mozart.”