British adventurer and idealist Denys Finch Hatton says, in Out of Africa (1985), we’re all passing through.

As people pass through life, they have various experiences.

In Out of Africa life is a mixed blessing for business woman and storyteller Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep).

Though this Danish woman runs a successful coffee plantation in Kenya, circa 1914, her husband isn’t faithful to her. She even picks up a venereal disease off him.

Her love life isn’t a happy one, but business is going well and she loves the Kenyan people.

Then she meets Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford).


Critics at the time complained that Robert Redford didn’t have a British accent to play this British character. For many viewers, though, it was what happened between Blixen and Finch that mattered more. She embarks on a romance with the ideal man.

The romance is punctuated by a lush treatment. The scene where Finch is taking Blixen on a flight over Kenyan plains is breathtaking, as the beautiful scoring rings out over the soundtrack.

The man she met and loved brought the negative things in her life into perspective, as if washed away.


Though the whole ‘arrangement’ is off color morally, Blixen and Finch had such an impact on one another, but he believed he was just passing through this world, as we all are, really.

Though people pass through they leave their mark. Passing through in life but leaving a mark is perhaps inspiring–if we realize what we might leave behind.

Though we all are passing through in this life—birth and death and everything in between—we still leave behind something that defines our lives despite the shortness of our stays on planet earth.

When I interviewed my grandmother I asked her what she would like to be remembered as. She replied, “A good mother.” And according to her daughter, she did that and more.

People die, but though they are passing through, who they are and what they have done leaves a mark.

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