Sydney Pollack’s gorgeous, sweeping, romantic epic is a powerful, absorbing experience. Baroness Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep), a Danish woman who married her lover’s brother, moved to Kenya to run a coffee plantation and went bankrupt. Most people would let this be the end of their story but for Blixen, it was only the beginning: she wrote several books about her experiences, some of which inspire this film. Robert Redford is Denys, the big game hunter who steals Karen’s heart. The film is the big, epic tale of their romance, quiet and subtle, drawn out and almost unspoken. The film was directed and produced by Sydney Pollack, an actor and sometime filmmaker who has made wonderful films over the years, ranging from the wonderful “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” (1969) to the entertaining “Tootsie” (1982). Here, working on a large canvas, Pollack and cinematographer David Watkin paint a glorious portrait of the “Dark Continent,” which is beautiful and dangerous, absorbing and romantic. Streep and Redford generate tremendous chemistry in their characters’ relationship. Klaus Maria Brandauer is Bror, Karen’s husband, whose philandering results in giving her syphillis, after which she turns cold toward him. The film is stunning and wonderful, a sight to see.
NOTE: The film won 7 Oscars, including Picture and Director, and got 4 more nominations, including Actress and Supporting Actor.