Monday, April 28, 2008

Nowhere in Africa (2001)

I really wanted to like this movie, but I found it overwhelmingly anachronistic, in an almost endless variety of ways. For instance, here's a silly anachronism that runs throughout the movie: they live on a farm upcountry in Kenya where they adopt a dog that was running wild, but they then take it on walks with a leash. There are much deeper instances of this problem, but that they would overlook such a simple instance is telling.

My real problem with it was that the characters rang false: everything was too simple. They all have incredibly enlightened views on race relations, volunteering to do menial labor on their farm alongside their workers. And they're ultimately unfazed by any of the many horrible things going on around them.

Maybe the book has richer portrayals of their struggles. The story itself is interesting, so I should check it out. I give it four out of ten stars.

Minor location quibble: there's a series of scenes shot at a hotel that's supposed to be the Norfolk Hotel, but it doesn't really look anything like the Norfolk. At least "Out of Africa" bothered to get that kind of stuff right.

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