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Merryl Streep Month: Out of Africa

When I (Bekki) first saw this movie it was my senior year in High School.  I went to this parochial school for a Christian denomination that didn’t believe in dancing.  Ok it was a Mennonite School.  So instead of Prom we had “Banquet”. Yeah.  It was as good as it sounds.  Contrary to popular belief I was not exactly popular in school, but I did have some good friends, and we decided to skip the after banquet party for a lovely evening of conversation, and Out of  Africa.

Poor Meryl Streep.  She seems to get the rough end of about all the movie relationships she’s in.

When I saw this movie long ago I thought it grand in its scope, and sad in its relationships.  Now, after just finishing a degree focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa I find this movie to be much more nuanced than I originally figured.  Karen getting on her knees in order to find a place for the Kikuyu tribesfolk that worked for her was just so moving.  She thought she was so gracious and upright in the beginning of the film. By the time the movie was done she had been quite transformed by the people she worked with every day.  Didn’t see them as lesser at all, but as friends.  This, to me, was the stellar part of the film.  The weaving in of the interaction of the English colonists with the Kikuyu and the Massai peoples was so very good.  I liked that Denys’s character points out some of the ridiculous attitudes and actions.

Karen.  She was a feminist to the core.  She ran that farm while her husband took off to chase the wind. And yet she was so at the mercy of the men around her.  So frustrating.

I was captivated by her storytelling too.  Makes me want to do that with the little girls in my world.  Telling stories is a beautiful art.

Maybe I’ll just up and go to Kenya for my 40th birthday.  That really would be an adventure.  I could come back and tell the story.

“I once had a birthday in Africa….”


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