(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 43
4.3 out of 5 🐙
I was not looking forward to watching this movie. It originally came out in 1985. I was eleven years old. To say I was not interested in this kind of movie at that age is a huge understatement. I was more interested in the next Nintendo session or whichever Rocky movie was coming out that year. I was eleven! Cut me some slack. Up until today, I still expected a boring sludge.
That’s what I love about movies. Sometimes they just surprise you. This was a witty film with earnest, subtle performances from their leads. It was a wonderful adaptation of Karen Blixen’s life. Like most biopics, the plot wasn’t exactly a traditional story beat architecture. The movie does meander. It’s a life story, not a Greek play. All of the characters, or at least the vast majority of them, are fleshed out. The European characters are “Maggie Smith-esque”, sharp-tongued, bitter (but also strangely humble) grumps. The indigenous people are also given disparate and solid characters. Some of their expressions as they witness the absurdity of Belgian nobility trying to import their cultural lunacies are just priceless. It is bravura acting. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. To be thorough, they do not get equal time. That’s not ideal. The movie lacks any pretension when I thought it would be seething with it. It also does a remarkably reasonable pontification about cultural relativity. I’m not saying it was perfect but it lacked condescension and really did try. It’s not a surprise since the author clearly loved Kenya and its people and it shows in the film’s respect for both.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)