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Out Of Africa

Not wanting to be left alone, Karen decides to marry Bror, but only for financial purposes. (This is not a secret, she straightup tells him right away) She establishes a plantation in Africa, but to her dismay her husband decides they should grow coffee. She eventually meets the happy-go-lucky hunter Denys, who she develops a complicated relationship with...

At first I couldn't get past Meryl Streep's accent. It was so offputting at first, to where I wondered "What the hell is she doing?". But once I got past that she turned out to deliver a very good and believable performance. I'm glad this movie avoided the cliché of making the husband a jerk to the point where it's no wonder she has an affair. He's not a very romantic type, but he's not cold. He's busy, but he doesn't do it out of spite. He's neglectful, but he doesn't treat her like dirt. Unfortunate circumstances just lead her to spending a lot of time at home with him away at war.
The settings have a personality of their own, giving a nice look at regular life in an African country, which shows people with their own little quirks. I'm glad they didn't exaggerate it as much as possible making it out to be the most difficult place to live on earth, because it's so clichéd at this point. This is not a movie about poverty. In fact, Karen even proves to provide some medical help to those who need it. Rather, it's about trying to make the best of what you've got, and someone who will make you happy and do anything to be with you. Unfortunately for Karen, she doesn't fully get her wish in either of her relationships. Her husband often goes off to war and rarely stays at home. She starts to develop some feelings for him, but they slowly die out as he doesn't help out with the farm and she contracts syphilis from him. Denys becomes the man she really starts to love, and they always tell funny or tragic stories to each other. But he's an adventurer. He always wants to be somewhere else. So even though she might sound selfish when she tries to prevent him from living out his own dreams, it's understandable. She always gets abandoned.
WARNING: spoilers below
When Denys then dies in a plane crash, she gives up on the farm and returns to Denmark. You're left wondering where destiny will take her, and if she ever will love again or rather stand alone in fear of being abandoned.
Streep and Robert Redford have electric chemistry with each other. Their shared joy and passion is realistic and handled with just the right balance. They only have one serious argument in the entire film, and it's not emphasized by over-the-top yelling and arms flailing. They are rather just sad, frustrated over their own clashing ideals and contemplative. We see Redford moving his finger over the map in starts and stops, taking Karen's words in but not budging. The scene asks an important question about what an act of love really means. Is it really love to stop doing what you love in order to make your lover happy? Does love mean never putting away too much time to yourself?
Throughout the movie Streep narrates the events, which can prove a killer or a winner with some. While at times a bit sappy, Streep's narration proves to work very well. The closer where she reads up a letter provide the perfect bittersweet finish to a classic tale.

A little bit Oscar bait at times, but a relaxing naturally paced romantic drama.