Following a car crash which leaves her hospitalized Italian socialite Kuki (Kim Basinger) marries Paolo Gallmann (Vincent Perez) and with her son from an earlier marriage move to Kenya where Paolo has brought a cattle ranch. Despite a life long fascination with Africa the challenges of living there soon present themselves; from the dangerous wildlife and weather, Paolo's increasingly longer trips away on hunting trips plus her mother Franca's (Eva Marie Saint) constant suggesting she returns back home. But despite the issues Kuki sticks it out and works to turn the cattle ranch in to a conservation park.
I am one of those people who will watch a movie because it's a movie rather than for having an interest in the subject matter, and as such I have watched plenty of interesting movies which otherwise I would have passed on. Sadly "I Dreamed of Africa" is not one of those movies or should I say the story of Kuki Gallmann is but the movie whilst featuring some decent cinematography is dull and uninvolving. Yes, for those who don't know there is a real Kuki Gallmann and "I Dreamed of Africa" is based on her autobiography.
Now I could say that "I Dreamed of Africa" is a cross between "Born Free" and "Out of Africa" with its story of Kuki who deals with the challenges of life in Africa whilst turning the ranch into a conservation reserve all delivered with some stunning cinematography of the African landscape and wildlife. But it is all incredibly shallow, there is no depth to it as we go through various episodes in Kuki's life in Africa, something needs to be done such as re-roof the building so show a scene of everyone working on the roof and then move on to next episode. It makes it a glimpse at Kuki's life in Africa rather than bringing to life the struggles and dangers she faced.
As for the acting well Kim Basinger certainly has the look and in scenes where she is looking out over the ranch whilst the face is bathed in the glow of a sun she looks great. In fact the cinematography is good throughout and one of the movies real highlights but beyond looking the part Basinger doesn't command the movie which is what is needed.
What this all boils down to is that "I Dreamed of Africa" is a great looking movie with some beautiful landscape cinematography. But it feels shallow with the story of Kuki Gallmann told without really bringing to life the depth of it.