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Thursday
Mar 22 2018

Months of Meryl: "Out of Africa"

JohnandMattheware watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.

#12 —Karen Blixen,aristocratic Danish author who owns a coffee plantation in Kenya during the first decades of the twentieth century.

JOHN: Did Karen Blixen once have a farm in Africa?Like a marching zombie with arms outstretched,Karen intones this mantra via voiceover several times duringOut of Africa,either because she remains in disbelief at her accomplishment or feels compelled to remind the viewer of a reason to focus on Ms.Blixen amid Sydney Pollack's African travelogue.

Out of Africatells the tale of Karen Blixen,a headstrong woman who relocates from Denmark to Kenya circa 1914 to marry her lover's twin brother (Klaus Maria Brandauer),run a short-lived coffee plantation,and eventually fall in love with English game-hunter Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford).Out of Africawas a project that piqued but ultimately eluded such directors as Orson Welles,David Lean,and Nicholas Roeg.As envisioned by Sydney Pollack and distributed by Universal Pictures in 1985,it's a colossal Hollywood production that endlessly reveres the natural beauty of its Kenyan environs while dodging engagement with the colonialist specificities of its time and place...

Similar to Merchant-Ivory's more artistically successfulA Room With a View(released just five months later in the US),Out of Africaharnesses the vitality and "unruliness"of a foreign country to shake the stuffy spirits of its mannered,upper-crust protagonists.

Unlike the aforementioned film,Out of Africais a self-important tribute to its own production,a picturesque fairy tale that lacks both bite and heat.

And from this corner of the globe,we bring you another accented,downcast,yet indefatigable Meryl Streep performance. Karen Blixen was a part the actress lobbied heavily for,reportedly wearing a low-cut blouse and push-up bra for her first meeting with Pollack,who had at first thought Streep too patrician for the role.Karen herself will transform from rigid European to a more relaxed romantic in the steamy tents of the African jungle,trysting with her gorgeous paramour Robert Redford in secret after her husband Baron Blixen joins the British army during the first World War.Still,nothing as nearly revealing as Streep's audition outfit finds its way into a movie that is too prudish and gargantuan to inspire any real sensual pleasures.On my second viewing,I had hoped that Streep's performance would leave more of an impression than it had on my first,bogged down as she is by Pollack's preference for sweeping vistas and bombastic music over deep concentration on the lives of his characters. Although she is a professed storyteller,this feels less like Karen's story that she herself is retelling and more like an eyewitness report of her time in Africa.

Locked into a self-serious demeanor,Streep's Karen is a stranger in a strange land who must bravely flout convention all while maintaining a poised,aristocratic dignity,pushing emotion behind her face like a dam.The film seems decisively split into a first act of trying circumstances and a second of ill-fated romance,and Streep settles into the role as Karen's genteel behavior is stirred by indignation and passion,relaxing into a project that rarely tests her abilities but instead showcases her knack for cerebral emoting and weighing competing desires.

This is your first go-around with Karen Blixen,right?Did Streep offer a new side of her talent inOut of Africa,or is she simply coasting through a fine role while on vacation with Robert Redford?

MATTHEW: This is indeed my first occasion meeting the Baroness Blixen inOut of Africa,which I was expecting to be little more than an imperialist bodice-ripper starring Redford,the unaging golden god,and Streep,cast here as her first — but not last — abandoned farm wife who is lustily led astray.

Pollack's film is often the white-lensed,paint-by-numbers travelogue that you've sufficiently described above.As Karen escapes Denmark and rushes into a half-hearted marriage with Brandauer's Bror in the opening scenes,Streep,clad in the first of many sumptuous and impeccably-tailored costumes by the queenly Milena Canonero,once again seems trapped in a broad,plot-driven script that requires a concept of a woman more than an actual woman of body and mind,a tricky acting task that,as we've seen inThe French Lieutenant's Woman,Still of the Night,and the same year'sPlenty,is not one at which Streep easily excels.Pollack,an impulsive and often uneven director of actors,hardly seems like the right collaborator to help Streep transcend such abstraction without resorting to the type of impossibly mannered period persona that occasionally peeks through Streep's work.And the broad Danish accent,by turns clipped and capacious,does the performance no favors.

So much of Streep's assignment inOut of Africaseems set up for the actress to simply coast,as you've suggested,or else flat-out stumble.By my estimation,Streep does neither.There isn't a single,decisive moment in the performance at which character and actress suddenly,magically click,setting aside all reservations and paving the way for a bravura interpretation.Instead,Streep just relaxes — into the character,into the accent,and ultimately into the film.Karen Blixen isn't,by any means,one of Streep's fuller creations,although there is nary a scene inOut of Africathat does not highlight the character nor explicitly pitch itself from her perspective within the entire nearly three hour runtime.Hold up Karen Blixen next to Karen Silkwood,Sophie Zawistowska,Joanna Kramer,or evenThe Deer Hunter's indelibly tremulous Linda and the character and performance shrink to near-microscopic proportions.But Streep,yet again,succeeds in providing a vivid sense of what it feels like to be this particular person,here and now,putting forth an opinionated,uncompromising woman of will where I had anticipated a gauzily distressed damsel or a dewy romantic heroine.Streep does this not by barreling through the role with all the virtuosic technique that,by 1985,was evident to anyone who had gone to the movies at all within the past decade,but through far subtler means that are utterly specific to the character that exists on the page,even though Streep's Karen often looks to be entertaining far more options than screenwriter Kurt Luedtke has readily envisioned.

Even when heartbroken,Karen is not immune to a wry remark or a warm gesture,which is perhaps why Streep avoids sticking to any one mood or emotional state for too long,oscillating between distress,uncertainty,pleasure,envy,and arousal,all in the film's first few passages,before Redford himself has fully emerged from the periphery as a potential suitor.In doing so,she evokes a multifaceted personality in an often depersonalized genre,refusing to play the aristocratic outsider who is embarrassingly out of her element.

This is a considerable feat,which isn't to say it's a revelatory or particularly novel one;Streep is definitely guilty of falling into some blank projections of wonder or repeating a couple of stern,strong-chinned,eyebrow-raising looks of disapproval,directly borrowed from her lengthy catalogue of stock expressions.The details of Streep's work inOut of Africathat impressed me most don't reveal anything new about her recognizably well-honed abilities,but are rather talents that have always been clear to the naked eye,yet perhaps never garnered the recognition they deserve.Streep has always used her hands to mesmerizing ends;inSophie's Choice,the mere act of touching her face felt like the instinctual raising of a barrier between our eyes and the radical emotional clarity of her facial features.InOut of Africa,there's an intriguing tactile quality to Streep's performance,whether she's tenderly caressing the pen that Denys gifts her along her face or sinking her hands into the dirt to plant coffee beans or,late in the film,shakily taking a puff of a cigarette upon receiving an especially tragic piece of bad news.I wish Pollack had foregrounded more of these gestures,but the moments thatareincluded serve as meaningful contributions to our intimate immersion,via Streep,into Karen's journey.There's a lot else I admire about Streep's performance here without quitelovingit,but I'm curious about what you think her characterization is missing?

JOHN: While we're on the subject of Meryl's Hands,I'd be remiss not to highlight that agonizing funeral scene,an undisputable peak of the performance where Streep signals that Karen is unable to confront the open secret of her affair.Is Karen walking away from the grave with dirt-in-hand a sign of her refusal to make the affair public,or is it her inability to face the immense heartache of her departed paramour?Or is it both?Has she admitted to herself that she's not,in fact,the unspoilt Danish aristocrat that arrived to Kenya years ago,and can she show such a transformation to this group of mourners?Either way,Karen's ambiguity in this moment colors a scene that could easily cast her as a humiliated widow and require copious tears on a hillside grave plot.

In an often unsubtle and bloated film,perhaps it is harder to value the subtlety and intuition of Streep's performance while watchingOut of Africa?Atop her lover's grave,getting her hair shampooed,leading a caravan to a war zone,negotiating with a lion,Streep is wondrously alive in ways that command your attention and remind you of her prodigious gifts for uninhibited feeling.

"How I wish I could run my own show like you do,"Suzanna Hamilton's tomboyish Felicity admits to Streep's Karen,who quips,"Is that what I do?"By foregrounding the feminist qualities of Karen,Streep again creates a portrait of a woman caught between the tug of social convention and her own desires to challenge them.In her aceFilm Commentwrite upof Streep's career for her 2008 Chaplin Award,Molly Haskell singles out Karen Blixen as a Streep performance that wrestles with gender in relation to Streep's character and her own persona:

Both bossy and insecure,she strikes me as perfectly capturing a certain well-born type of European woman,a mix of enlightened liberalism and prudishness;patronizing noblesse oblige and vulnerability.Early on,left behind by husband Klaus-Maria Brandauer,she makes it clear that she yearns for the man's life of action,envying them the ability "go off to be tested"whereas a woman's test is "how well we can endure loneliness."It turns out she's better at passing men's tests than women's,as she rides off into the bush where a dangerous battle is underway.That's her bravery and her foolishness.She wants to be independent but appreciated,wants the English community "to like me but I want to be left alone,too."The paradox of the movie star.… It's to Streep's credit that she makes us feel for this desperately rational woman who's afraid of feeling,and who finally can't live up to her own resolutions…

Haskell's estimation of Streep hereperfectly distills the contradictory threads of Karen Blixen while drawing parallels between role and star that aren't exactly apparent in the moment but make perfect sense when you consider them.

But isOut of Africareally the feminist film it is sometimes credited as?Denys and Karen cannot reconcile their conceptions of freedom,love,and marriage,and ultimately split before he dies in a plane crash.Rather than place Karen and Denys on equal footing in a pivotal break-up scene,the film casts Karen as a prim and childish woman whose attempts to put a ring on her lover are met with humiliation and foolishness.Remarking on this concession,Karina Longworthnoteshow,"it plays as though Karen is punished for trying to contain a butterfly in a bottle,for wrecking the male fantasy that there could be no such thing as a liberated woman who supports herself financially and submits to sex without strings,on her partner's terms,without ever asserting what she really wants."Karen runs her own show,but the show also runs her,and Pollack's confused conception of gender and marriage ultimately stymie the bold impulses within both Streep and Redford's performances.

Streep thought it would flop,butOut of Africawas the fifth highest-grossing film of 1985 (and,adjusted for inflation,her second-highest grossing domestic hit behindKramer vs Kramer) and became her third Best Picture winner (no small feat),the only one of which centralizes her.In hindsight,it marks a legendary apex of her career and also the high-point that begets an inevitable slope.Glancing over her subsequent filmography,Out of Africaseems like one of the last instances of Streep achieving this confluence of box office,critical,and AMPAS success in a role worthy of her talent.

But we're living (and watching) in the now.Are we closing a chapter or beginning one?And what will you remember about Baroness Blixen?

Out of Africa was a smash hit,inspiring fashion editorials,selling heaps of soundtracks and ticketsMATTHEW: I'm not sure ifOut of Africacan be properly gauged as either a commencement or a capstone for a certain infallible period in Streep's career,which wouldn't wane outright until the early 1990s.While appreciated at the time and well-remembered now,Streep's performance — or,specifically,its vocal quality — wasn't met without some skepticism.Clips of the film highlighting Streep's accent work were played on Danish television,prompting viewers to phone in and poke fun at its alleged inaccuracy.Geraldine Page,that year's eventual and long-overdue Best Actress winner forThe Trip to Bountiful,lightly mocked Streep in a People Magazineprofile,in which she remarked,"People are beginning to wonder if she can talk normal."It should also be said that,in retrospect,Streep's Karen Blixen is perhaps not the sort of barnstorming acting achievement that demands the Academy's recognition,especially with the utterly stupendousMia Farrow,Cher,Carmen Maura,andNorma Aleandroall waiting in the wings that year,not to mentionThe Color Purple's singularly extraordinary Whoopi Goldberg andSweet Dreams' volcanic Jessica Lange sitting alongside Streep as fellow bridesmaids.


Yet taken on its own terms,there is a lot to appreciate and even applaud about this performance,which remains better-judged and more sharply specific than just about any other component of the film,which Streep single-handedly elevates at nearly every moment by considering aspects of her character that,frankly,didn't require any intense examination in order for this behemoth of a movie to pull off its intended,tear-jerking effect.Brandauer (also Oscar-nominated) is still best in show,drolly enlivening a wily,trifling,and perpetually absent husband who is appropriately infuriating and yet strangely endearing.He brings out some of the spikiest reactions of Streep's career thus far,but would his deft performance have been at all possible without the abiding affection — and competitively carnal attraction — that Streep nurses for her co-star,even in the face of personal slights that couldn't possibly be more humiliating for Karen?This lusty,self-sabotaging instinct of the character feels sufficiently and thoughtfully explored by Streep,whose equal if not identical chemistry with Redford and Brandauer prevents this quasi-love triangle from feeling overwhelmingly weighted in one direction and provides Karen with a palpable sense of something lost (i.e.a marriage) just as she stands to gain a great deal (i.e.the love of a lifetime).


Best of all,though,is that Streep largely refuses to take either herself or Karen so deathly seriously,knowing full well that a cinematic saga likeOut of Africawould have sunk under the weight of any solemn self-importance on the part of its actors.She remains a game and good-humored presence throughout,letting herself look haggard on her impetuous horseback trek through the battlegrounds to reunite with her husband or giving Redford a dry double-take when he kiddingly tells her he learned to fly yesterday,right as she's climbing into the back of his jet.Streeps appears genuinely enlivened by Karen's call to adventure,but she also knows when not to impose a surplus of personality,as in the expedition sequences that allow us to live vicariously as Karen,a newfound,keen-eyed,and quietly inquisitive explorer.It should also be noted that the bulk of Karen's interactions with her African help are scripted like that excruciatingly earnest scene near the end ofBoyhood,when the Latino laborer-turned-waiter thanks Patricia Arquette for suggesting he go to college all those years ago.Streep,at least,has the good judgment to underplay the bulk of these exchanges with a professional reserve that unsentimentally dispels the false illusions about the bond between colonizer and colonized that Pollack and company would have you believe.

And then there's Redford,who elicits real heat and romance from Streep within this inspired cinematic pairing of the unruffled matinee idol and the cerebrally-inclined thespian.Their couplehood has the authentic pain of unresolved love,especially in the chapters when Denys refuses to abide by Karen's conservative core and her need for constant companionship,a personal principle that Streep's lucid,unyielding rationalizing makes both duly exasperating and unusually poignant.She seeks neither pity nor compromise,which preserves Karen's headstrong nature right at the arrival of romantic bliss,a narrative juncture when most leading ladies are required to do nothing more than make goo-goo eyes.But mostly I just love watching Streep watch Redford and all the ways this fondness physically manifests itself,free of fuss or frills,as in the subtle flush of beaming,breathtaking relief that passes through Karen upon Denys' late-film reappearance in her now-empty estate.Out of Africais rarely galvanizing filmmaking,but Streep is nothing less than a fetching center of credible,closely-felt heartache throughout it.Pollack's natural vistas and extravagant set-pieces have already receded into the back of my mind,but I have yet to forget the way Streep simply looks at Redford,gazing at him with an interconnected intimacy that keeps this sweeping epic on a human scale.

Your turn,reader!What are your memories of Karen's African farm?Is this Meryl landmark just a commercial zenith or a top-ranking feat of acting too?

previously on Months of Meryl

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Reader Comments (34)

"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong hills"

I cannot explain why this performance tends to grow better each time that I see it.Or perhaps watching Karen trying to hold on to him when he truly longs to be free just gets too heartbreaking each time.
Say what you will about the accent- but whatever she is doing is seems flawless and perfect- and her voice is lovely on the narration- I remember in undergrad we would try to mimic some of her line deliveries here.
So many good moments:
Her "come home"line to Brul
The "won't allow it scene"with Hutton which Streep has was the one line she hated saying but then it became her Rosetta Stone for Her creation of Karen
"My god your brave"when she hears the news
Her and Farrah's relationship and how she says his name

To me it is an epic movie to watch if you want to be in a fully committed relationship and the other person is ok with it but also wants the world on the side.

For me the dirt at the funeral was just a physical attempt to have at least some part of him finally to herself

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Also 6 nominations,3 Best Pic Winners from 1978-1985- quite an early run!

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I liked her performance in the film.It also seemed to me that Redford who abdandons the English accent rather quickly was just window dressing instead of the women.I saw Redford as Judy there to look pretty while Streep did her thing.

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Could not desagree more with John and Matthew.

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterB.

Sorry Redford "just"there to look pretty.Don't know what Autocorrect was thinking.Was my phone watching a Star is Born?

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom

This move bores the hell out of me!I also remember a review in the local papers here saying how splendid Streep was in her performance,blah,blah,her accent and all that stuff.But guess what?There's this Danish man working here who wrote in and corrected the reviewer blasting him for not even understanding the Danish accent and citing a long list of mispronounced words by Streep.It was hilarious!

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPete

I count 11 Oscar nominations with 7 wins including Best Pix and Best Director.

March 22,2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I have a soft spot for this film because it is one of the few best picture films that is built around and lead by a multidimensional female.Karen is smart,adventurous,independent,makes mistakes but is never a cliche girlfriend,etc.Streep is very comfortable and carries the film,and it's hard to imagine something of this scope getting financed now (even if it starred Jennifer Lawrence).I just find it really enjoyable.Streep + Klaus-Maria + Africa / cinematography = beautiful.

March 22,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJono

This is one of my favorite movies of all-time,and I think Meryl and Redford have perhaps the best chemistry of any couple on-screen,ever (all the better given that they have both struggled with their chemistry with other actors because they can seem distant at times).I know it's become fashionable to bash it,but I'm glad that isn't the case here.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I think this is one of Streep's great performances,honestly.I just love it so much.And the score is one of the best of all time.So lush,romantic,and classic.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

It's a snooze,albeit a very pretty snooze.THE COLOR PURPLE should've swept.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

About Months of Meryl...
I don't know why I bother to read this column.Certainly I'll stop doing that now.

The authors sound very arrogant and show little knowledge about the history of cinema.Such a superficial analysis.Let alone disrespectful.I wonder how old are they and if they actually did study cinema at some point in life.Did they know who was Sydney Pollack?Well,among other things,he was a member of the Actors Studio – one of the very few non-actors or eventual actors who received the membership.
He was awarded with it because of his services as director of actors.

Anyway,the authors sound like juvenile fans,who will consider The Devil Wears Prada the quintessential Meryl's movie.Maybe they should know that it wouldn't have been any Devil Wears Prada without Pollack's Tootsie.So please – when watching movies from the likes of Karel Reisz or Syndney Pollack or Robert Benton – do not talk about them as if you have or could have done better.Respect the people who had founded the cinema we love.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

@Bruno.why don't you...these two are miles ahead of your knowledge of movies..

I think Streep was brilliant in this.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

I actually have a masters in History of Cinema.I'm from Argentine and studied in Columbia back in '97.Professor Richard Peña was my teacher there.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I actually have a masters in History of Cinema.I'm from Argentine and studied in Columbia back in '97.Professor Richard Peña was my teacher there.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Sorry.Maybe you don't know who is Richard Peña...He teaches classes about cinema history and south american vanguards.Above all,he studies the cinema of brazilian director Nelson Pereira dos Santos.At least back when I knew him.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

When I first started reading this post,I was worried about Streep's performance being somewhat dismissed.I am glad I was wrong,because I agree,pehaps more strongly than the writers,that beyond the accent and sometimes staid drama
Streep creates a strong lead character using her intuitive gifts.I know how obvious this film can be,but I admit that I give myself over to it every time and thoroughly enjoy it.I give her the credit for keeping me interested and moving me in the end.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBGK

Good to know...but there is still much snobbery in your "knowledge"

Cinema is for everyone to experience in their own ways.You are why I come to this blog site less and less.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

It really all comes down to opinions now,doesn't it?

March 23,2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Again,this is one of those films that has been shortened for TV or foreign audiences and some of those versions are really good.I have also heard of people watching it in 30 minute stretches,and it oddly lends itself to that format.I got what Sydney was going for,and would have probably just recommended he cut out 30-40 minutes.Some of the scenes are classic,like the shampoo and lovemaking,or the death news or funeral bit at the end.fighting the lion,etc.And didn't Streep base her accent off tapes of Isak Dinesen?It's a bit of a sing-song accent but ultimately,charming.

March 23,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSister Rona Barrett

In America,the film was lengthened for broadcast tv and shown over two nights.It included some scenes that were originally deleted from the film.That is how I originally saw Out of Africa,and I have this version recorded on a two VHS tapes somewhere.

March 24,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I always enjoy this film hugely.It's a long,languid epic travelogue with gorgeous music,visual and design elements.The script does a good job of binding together some disparate story strands spanning several years into a whole story,centred on Karen Blixen's adventure in Kenya and how she comes to learn about the value - and also the damage - of possessions,and of being possessive.

To that end,some of the scenes between her and Denys cut to the heart,and although Redford's American accent feels out of place here,he is still an ardent suitor to Karen,though a complex one.Their romance is fascinating,and the film shows very well how one person can impact another on an emotional level.Streep's performance is totally in tune with her character and the needs of any individual scene or moment.And Brandauer is excellent as Bror.

I also give credit to Sydney Pollack: he brings a quietly effective overall directorial vision to this,and I think it is a slight failing or flaw in our culture that sees this kind of film directing as often less worthy of praise than other more aggressively or ostentatiously directorial styles.The film is an emotional experience to savour and to return to,and it also manages to get in a number of good observations about the mind of a writer.

The film could have done more with the travails of British rule and the impact that had on the colonised Kenyans,but the background is there,such as in the men-only club and in the scene in which Karen begs for help at the garden party,and it's enough to give context to the central theme of belonging,possessing and leaving be.

March 24,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

"Tell Baron Blixen his wife is here."
LOVE that moment and I really loved the whole movie.It's so underrated and easily dismissed.People complain there are hardly female driven BP winners but they don't hesitate to dismiss OOA,even though it is the Story of a woman trying her good luck in Africa.The love story is a main point,but not all of it.
Much MUCH better than Plenty,I repeat.

March 24,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

B -- which part?There are quite a few opinions presented.some intense praise,some dismissal.I'm getting the feeling judging by some of these comments that people only read the first couple of graphs which are fairly negative but then the praise comes out.

Suzanne -- i don't remember that at all.wow.

Bruno and grrrr - guys!Opinions are bound to differ.I think John and Matthew maybe agree too often but I like that there's such a stark difference of opinion this time.

Everyone -- i haven't seen this movie since the 1980s!anyone else remember a couple of scenes vividly but nothing else?(i still remember the lion scene and the joke about Streep's hair.and I remember that Klaus Maria Brandauer was sensational in it and had my vote for supporting actor).I remember LOVING the movie in 1985 and my parents bought me the soundtrack.But that year I was most obsessed with The Purple Rose of Cairo and Witness and The Breakfast Club..

March 25,2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

B -- which part?There are quite a few opinions presented.some intense praise,some dismissal.I'm getting the feeling judging by some of these comments that people only read the first couple of graphs which are fairly negative but then the praise comes out.

Suzanne -- i don't remember that at all.wow.

Bruno and grrrr - guys!Opinions are bound to differ.I think John and Matthew maybe agree too often but I like that there's such a stark difference of opinion this time.

Everyone -- i haven't seen this movie since the 1980s!anyone else remember a couple of scenes vividly but nothing else?(i still remember the lion scene and the joke about Streep's hair.and I remember that Klaus Maria Brandauer was sensational in it and had my vote for supporting actor).I remember LOVING the movie in 1985 and my parents bought me the soundtrack.But that year I was most obsessed with The Purple Rose of Cairo and Witness and The Breakfast Club..

March 25,2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I really didn't want to start a feud.

My point is that writing about films is much more than share an opinion.When people decide to do it publicly,they're taking responsabilit for the eventual readers.It's about opinions,quality research,repertory and,above all,respect for the artists involved.

For example,one could never come up with a system of valour – "Similar to Merchant-Ivory's more artistically successful A Room With a View"- without establishing any criteria,and presente it like a fact.More artistically successful based on what?The Oscars (I don't think so,亚博主页Out of Africa won a ton of Oscars),亚博主页the NY Times review,the author's personal opinions?

Further in the text,there is a completely false sentence – "Pollack,an impulsive and often uneven director of actors".We're talking about the director of They Shoot Horses,Don't They?,Tootsie and many others.He was known as a very technical director,who used to work hard on retakes,and,above all,as an extremely gifted director of actors.When watching Out of Africa,a period piece,complex production,fulled with landscapes and sets shooted according to the golden ratio,where the hell did the authors see impulsiveness?They need to explain it to us.Without that,it just sounds pretentious and random,

And I'm not talking about this particular analysis.The texts about Karel Reisz's (remember Saturday Night,Sunday Morning?) and Robert Benton's (Places in the Heart?) movies also dismissed them as minor artists.

Come on,when you decide to talk about a movie,this is not the way to go!

March 25,2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Have to say I agree with Bruno.

Althou I like the idea ot this,the execution is often poor.

The only person treated with respect is Meryl.Eventually some other famous actor.Everyone else is too broad,too stiff,not complex enough,etc.Sometimes the authors write as if Meryl was the only real artist in the business and had made the movies herself alone.

Cinema is collective work,guys!

March 25,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMari

But is this not a series that is supposed to focus on Streep?They cannot spend enormous amount of the time focused on every single artist involved in each film- some observations must be general reactions and then more time focusing on Streep's craft.

March 25,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

@Nathaniel

I find both fellows interesting...why am I on the chopping block???

March 26,2018 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

One could focus on Meryl's work without dimishing the work of everybody else,right?

March 26,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMari

You sound like a nasty,pretentious and barely articulate piece of shit yourself,Bruno

March 26,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Verdene

Mari,did they not call Brandauer ‘best in show' and praise Redford or do you spend your time on here just commenting instead of actually reading the writing?

March 26,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Verdene

@ Roger Verdene...


You just called a guy a nasty pretentious piece of shit because he presented an opinion...That is what I call "barely articulate".Go seek help,my friend.I know Trump is the president,but we don't need that.

March 26,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatrice

This film is a dream,both artistically and literally.It's easy to overlook the opening sequence as just some arty intro,but look closer.It captures the hardest of screen moments to portray - the torment of writers who turn to ghosts for inspiration.From this half-awake stasis,with its hints about romance,travel and loss,Karen Blixen narrates us through her halcyon days,uncovering an enormous amount of pathos and regret as she does.David Lean territory,this is not,but it is a chance to take Streep's lead and follow her unfulfilled narrator.This is Streep's only portrayal of a storyteller,and I think she captures the type through courageous means.Films that attempt to recreate the creative writing process invariably rely on tropes like overflowing waste-paper baskets and pen-in-mouth pondering,but Pollock delivers an extended window gaze through which Blixen loses herself,until the painful reminder that she left it all behind.There is little wonder Streep chose to explore the wry,jaded Blixen,because the screenplay unearths those moments that shook her so profoundly from the colonial dream that even going home to Africa proved an enduring disappointment.It's called OUT of Africa.The title is as pitch perfect as Plenty,and the experience reliant on surrendering instead of expecting to be entertained.Someone else on these comment threads observed keenly how Streep's Joanna Kramer blew away decades of acting method.She does it again here,as she blasts Redford out of the water.Hers is a towering characterisation.His is all reliable mannerism.

May 6,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Burge

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