Danish Baroness Karen Blixen [also known as Isak Dinesen] (played by Meryl Streep) is living in Denmark in 1914. She has married Baron Bor Blixen-Flecke (by Klaus Maria Brandauer) for convenience and after seeing a business opportunity, the Baron decides to relocate himself and his wife, Karen, to operate a coffee plantation in Kenya, Africa. Once the arduous journey to Africa is over and they settle on the plantation, Bor Blixen starts to spend more and more time away, either on business or womanising. Karen is left to run the plantation on her own, to deal with a series of challenges and to improve relations with the local natives who staff and work the plantation. She works particularly closely with Farah (by Malick Bowens) and Kamate (by Joseph Thiaka). On a visit to town she encounters Denys Finch-Hatton (by Robert Redford) and his best friend Berkley (Michael Kitchen) and they become friends. Finch-Hatton, a ruggedly handsome and enigmatic man, is aloof but fascinating and although they both pride themselves on their independence, Karen is enthralled by him and a tentative relationship follows. After a very happy time spent together at the plantation and on safari, Karen wants more for her life than Denys is prepared to give – he still wants his freedom – so their relationship becomes difficult and starts to falter. In 1931, Karen decides to return to Denmark, but she has gained a solid understanding and huge regard for Africa and its culture along the way.
I think this is the most beautifully made movie I have ever seen. The cinematography captures the wonderful colours, broad landscapes and endless sky of Africa in all its stunning glory, the original music makes your heart soar and if you have never heard Mozart before, its exquisite use in this movie will make you seek out more. To go alongside all this, the pace of the film is perfectly measured and the performances are strong. Meryl Streep is particularly good – she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Redford is good as the offhand, aloof and enigmatic Finch-Hatton and Michael Kitchen is also very good. Klaus Maria Brandauer was also nominated for an Oscar for his support role. In all the movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won seven. The movie is based on the writings of Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen.
This is just a marvellous movie and one of my all time favourites.
Made in 1985. Directed by Sydney Pollack.