29 January 2012 | sashank_kini-1
Roger Ebert wrote "You Have to Be Very Talented to Be Working with Meryl Streep". Sydney-Meryl Combo Rules!
Watching Meryl Streep in 2011's The Iron Lady and in 1985s Out of Africa gave me two different results. While in both of them, Meryl gave her best shot, the director's approach towards the actress is very different. In Out of Africa, Meryl's character Karen is a hardworking, independent, strong-willed young baroness/plantation worker later author, while in The Iron Lady, she oscillates between an eighty year old dementia-suffering Thatcher and a middle-aged Thatcher, both authoritative.
While I do understand Phyllida's attempt to have Meryl foreshadow others to show Thatcher's dominance, the movie itself became a one-woman show that barely gave a s*** about the supporting cast. While in Out of Africa, Pollock never resorts to showy camera work to highlight Meryl. The camera moves through the picturesque Africa and the beautiful Meryl so naturally as if the cameraman was lost in the beauty of the entire place. While Meryl is a marvel, Pollock himself is a wise man who gave the picture an independent existence. The Iron Lady will always remain Meryl's Iron Lady.
Based on a true story, Out of Africa shows Karen Blixen's life as she adjusts to the African lifestyle while romancing Denys (Redford) and divorcing Bror (Klaus). The opening itself talks of the farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills and is voiced by Streep in a very distinctive accent. Many of her performances, especially the ones where she uses accents, are slightly difficult to accept first but shine later, even though she does sound like Sly Stallone at times, especially when she says in one scene "I want you to COME HOME". Karen marries Bror to retain her title of baroness and moves to Africa. Bror uses her money against her wishes and doesn't take care of her properly. Karen meets Denys and another guy, and invites them to her home. Both the guys are attracted to her but things go awry for one. Denys and Karen fall in love but Denys lives a very different life, independent like Karen but in a nomadic way. Karen runs the entire farm, opens up a school and acquaints and adjusts herself with the Africans.
Pollack has handled the movie tactfully, and the film is enriched by fine performances. The green verdant lands of Africa with the pastoral huts of the Africans on one hand and the lavishness of the Britishers on the other can be seen. There is this lovely scene where the tribe chief tells Karen that only tall children will go to school. When Karen tells him that sending kids would be very wise of him, the African replies that the Britishers have learned to read, but it has not helped them in any way. Still, the farmers hold respect for Karen's caring nature.
Clocking at 2 hours and 40 minutes, Out of Africa is like a landscape of a beautiful bird on its mighty flight over the flowing rivers and the dense forests. My Rating: 8 out of 10