Hello, movie fans! It is Valentine’s Day week, and to get you into the mood, I’ll reflect on one of the most romantic films of all time.
You might favor “Gone with the Wind,” “Twilight,” “Ghost” or “When Harry Met Sally.” But for me, there’s nothing quite like “Out of Africa.” The 1985 drama, based on a memoir, stars Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen, a Dutch aristocrat who marries a friend (Klaus Maria Brandauer) out of convenience and then journeys to Africa to begin a dairy farm.
Though they may not have married for love, the baron begins philandering. It’s especially stressful for Baroness Blixen, as she is left alone to contend with a coffee farm instead of the dairy farm she expected. At the height of her troubles, the baroness catches syphilis from her husband and very nearly dies. Through it all, however, she maintains the love, friendship and admiration of Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford).
Before Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling, there was Redford, often described as one of the world’s most attractive men in the 1970s and 1980s. His role as Finch Hatton is similar to his later part in another fantastic romantic drama, “The Horse Whisperer.” Both characters are hearty and difficult, and yet are more attractive for it.
One of the most romantic scenes takes place in the dangerous outback. A lion charges the baroness and she seamlessly raises the cylinder of her rifle and fires before it can reach her. When Denys gets to her side, he wipes blood from her lip where she inadvertently bit herself. He also takes the time to wash her hair with river water, while reciting poetry.
It is Baroness Blixen’s trials that make “Out of Africa” such a gem. From the start of the movie, nothing goes right for her. And even after the baron gives her a divorce, Denys is content to move in with her, but not to marry her.
“I won’t be closer to you and I won’t love you more because of a piece of paper,” he says.
The film is a love story about Africa, too, and despite the difficulties, it’s told without bitterness.
Obviously, I’m a fan!