I Dreamed of Africa
Beckoned by the mystery and exotic allure of Africa, a wealthy blond European writer, needing to rediscover herself, relocates to Kenya with a charming but flighty husband and endures the culture shock and dangers of life in the bush. Sound familiar? That's the overwhelming dilemma hanging over I Dreamed of Africa, which is too similar in theme to escape inevitable comparisons to 1985's stunning Out of Africa. Kim Basinger plays another real-life blond writer, Kuki Gallmann, who leaves Italy with her young son and new husband Paolo (Vincent Perez) to begin life anew on an African farm. Despite Basinger's earnest portrayal, she is let down by a script that never really clarifies who Gallmann was before Africa, thus making it hard to feel more than perfunctory concern over the predictable (and rather depressing) hard knocks she faces. The screenwriters who adapted Gallmann's autobiography -- Paula Milne (Hollow Reed) and Susan Shilliday (Legends of the Fall) -- are not exactly hacks, yet their characterizations are tepid and one-note. Director Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire) keeps Basinger at the center of breathtaking scenery, but can't seem to add more depth to this unfortunate knockoff.