Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 30
  2. Negative: 15 out of 30
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  1. 50
    There is a lack of drama and telling detail. When events happen, they seem more like set pieces than part of the flow.
  2. 30
    Plods along in the Oscar-winning, yawn-inducing tradition of "Out of Africa," making me yearn for something less "National Geographic."
  3. 50
    Ends up a nightmare of a star vehicle.
  4. 60
    Though beautifully acted by Basinger (everyone else is relegated to a supporting role), there's a strange vagueness to much of this sumptuous, stunningly photographed melodrama.
  5. Advance word of mouth has suggested that Ms. Basinger...turns in a performance comparable to Meryl Streep's in "Out of Africa." Would that it were so. Ms. Basinger certainly works hard at her role.
  6. The story is inspirational in a superficial way, but the filmmakers focus so exclusively on their attractive heroine that the picture loses any real connection with Africa.
  7. A recitation of woes doesn't constitute a plot, and panoramic shots of migrating wildlife don't convey enough African flavor.
  8. This is a Laura Ashley on Safari meditation on bored rich people searching for fulfillment and a new life among the photogenic wildlife of Kenya. Just wake me when it's over.
  9. Frill-less almost to the point of minimalist, teary without being lachrymose, hers is a performance you'd think was great were the movie in a language you didn't understand.
  10. 20
    I Dreamed Of Africa...and all I got was this lousy movie.
  11. Like the star's acting, the movie is bland, full of good intentions and generally as stiff as a fireplace poker.
  12. Despite the movie's dramatic weaknesses, I was spellbound by the images.
  13. Far from a great movie, it nonetheless does its job as a family adventure and saga of a woman's personal growth.
  14. The story the film tells ruins the movie.
  15. Here's hoping your own dreams of Africa are more interesting -- and better acted -- than this movie.
  16. 30
    Ultimately the movie is alluring and respectful--its sadness may be what saves it from becoming sensationalist or trite.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    This film, based on a true story, transcends its handsomeness to present a subtle portrait of a woman's growing consciousness.
  18. 50
    While Basinger admirably invests her role with deep passion and looks splendid in her Kenya khakis, the true story she stars in is disappointingly tame and dramatically inert.
  19. 39
    Why waste the price of a movie ticket when you can see wildebeests cavorting for free from the comfort of your own recliner?
  20. 20
    Hudson keeps the movie rambling and episodic, deferring to the imposing backdrop whenever possible.
  21. Surprisingly dull and predictable in its characterizations.
  22. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    There is no obvious reason for the film's meandering existence: it's a series of beautifully photographed postcards of Africa.
  23. There's little room for Kuki to evolve into anything approaching an actual character, and it would take an actress far greater than Basinger, who gives it her all, to make something of the role.
  24. A wobbly Basinger and a feeble screenplay doom I Dreamed of Africa.
  25. Consist of little more than people arguing or clambering in and out of dusty Land Rovers.
  26. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Visually gratifying but dramatically weak, the film falls short of its aspiration to be a sweeping romantic epic.
  27. Basinger herself doesn't have the vibrancy of a female hero.
  28. 30
    A fabulous movie if you are a woman over 40 who likes to use the word "empowered" a lot.
  29. Reviewed by: Marc Caro
    Doesn't have much plot. It just sort of meanders around like a wildebeest playing Blind Man's Bluff.
  30. Reviewed by: Phoebe Flowers
    A wisp of a movie that dissipates the moment you leave the theater.

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