Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
Follows the life of Karen Blixen, who establishes a plantation in Africa. Her life is Complicated by a husband of convenience (Bror Blixen), a true love (Denys), troubles on the plantation, schooling of the natives, war, and catching VD from her husband.Written by
Tony Bridges <email@example.com>
Robert Redford initially intended to play Denys Finch Hatton as an Englishman. Director Sydney Pollack felt it would be too distracting for audiences. Redford had to overdub some of his lines from early takes, when he used a trace of English accent. See more »
A story that is difficult to translate into a film without being episodic and a little bit direction-less. How many fireside scenes, meaningful pauses and plaintive longing gazes do we need to sit through to get the romantic undertows? Lots of subtlety in the script and visual symbolism inadequately matched by Robert Redford's neutral performance giving the impression of a huge American film-star doing it by numbers, conspicuously super-imposed onto an otherwise convincing depiction of colonial Kenyan culture in the early twentieth century. Director Sydney Pollack believed Redford gave the historic character he was portraying an unobtainable quality that couldn't be offered by any high-profile British actor at the time of filming (1984). Once the British acting fraternity recovered from the shock of being so unfairly patronized, they might, if given the chance, have cried out, "Haven't you heard of Pierce Brosnan?" Indeed, Brosnan's age in the early 1980's would have been much closer than Redford's to that of the historic character being portrayed. In fairness to Redford, he was apparently prepared to equip his character, an English gentleman, with a suitably Etonian accent. Pollack allegedly felt however than an English accent from Redford would distract the film's viewers. Hmmm. Yes, Mr Pollack. An Englishman with an American accent is so much less distracting and so much more believable. It's Meryl Streep who does the lion's share (no pun intended) of the heavy-lifting with able support from Michael Kitchen and others. Lots of beautiful photography and sweeping themes from veteran composer, John Barry. As a keen photographer once said to me however, "Why is good photography allowed to be an excuse for a bad movie?" I don't agree it's a bad movie but I do believe less is more and that the film needs a lot of tidying up with a tauter narrative. The truth is, I find it a curiously interesting albeit flawed film and wouldn't be surprised if I find myself enjoying it more upon repeat viewings.
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