Thursday, July 26, 2007

Meryl Streep in Out of Africa

Impressed is the best word to describe Meryl Streep's performance in Out of Africa. I have long put off watching many of these highly regarded British colonial/post-colonial films until recently when I fell in love with The Painted Veil. Since then, I've allowed myself to do a little catch-up.

Out of Africa, a best picture winner (along with 6 other academy award wins) is certainly a respectable film, in which Meryl Streep plays a Danish baroness who transplants her life to the Serengeti of Kenya as she struggles with loneliness and tries not to lose her fortune on a new coffee plantation.

The movie is based on the book by Isak Dinesen called The Life of a Storyteller. Dinesen is a fake name (I forget the right word people use) for the woman Meryl Streep plays (Karen Blixen). Since it's more of a bio-pic then a well crafted fiction, the story doesn't have natural arc's, climaxes, and resolution, instead it's kind of drawn out with an unfocused (but real) story of disappointment, loneliness, and hope.

During the 1986 Academy Award show, the winner for best actress was veteran Geraldine Page in the film I have never seen called The Trip To Bountiful (with a story synopsis that sort of reminds me of The Straight Story). I'm sure Page does a great job, but I can't help but think the Streep only got ignored because by the 1986 award show Page had been nominated for her 9th time and had yet never won.

Maybe that's why the Academy is making it up to Meryl Streep and nominating her at every chance they get?

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Peter T Chattaway said...

FWIW, Streep does have two Oscars already -- Best Supporting Actress for Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979) and Best Actress for Sophie's Choice (1982). It is a little funny, though, how she has been nominated ten times since then but has never won for any of those nominations.

Anonymous said...

Oh goodness. This is another that has been on my list for some time and as with you, I loved "The Painted Veil".

I may have to get around to "Out of Africa" sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

I really loved her in this role also. I was completely drawn in to this long story that, you're right, doesn't have a natural story arc. Perhaps the realness of what the characters experienced was easy to connect with...combined with excellent acting from both Streep and Retford.

maryt/theteach said...

The word you are looking for is "pseudonym" Isak Dinesen for Karen Blixen. Loved "Out of Africa." and both Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in it. And how about the soundtrack from OoA? Incredible. right?

Didn't you just love "The Painted Veil"? Another film based on an Isak Dinesen short story is "Babette's Feast."

Michael Parsons said...

Still smarting over Whoopies loss. But Meryl was also worth.

Anonymous said...

"Pseudonym" or, if it's only for writing, "nom de plume."

Streep and Redford and Brandauer were all superb and I do love the film, but most people think it's romantic and I found the romance to be the least interesting part.

A John Barry score, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Out Of Africa four Meryl in this role. Love this movie.
I also fell in love with The Painted Veil. I thought Naomi should have been nominated for this film, but no one watched it. ( I myself got the screener very late in the game.)
I think Streep could have won for several early performances including Silkwood and Out Of Africa.
I sure hope she will get another soon, because I can't stand it that Hilary Swank is ahead of her with two for Best Actress, over Meryl's one for supporting and one for Best Actress.

Anonymous said...

j'adore trop cette actrice je n'ai jamis vu out of africa mais je pense que je le verrai bientot!! en tout cas cette actrice est plus que merveilleuse dans tous ces films!!

Anonymous said...

I love "Out of Africa" Can anyone tell me what is the origin or title of the thoughts she read aloud at Denys' funeral??? it's Driving me crazy. Love Streep wish she would do an album. I love her singing.