Nowhere in Africa

Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31

Critic Reviews

  1. 78
    Thanks to the superior performances by all four leads (including incredibly expressive Karoline Eckertz, who appears as the teenage Regina midway through), Nowhere in Africa is a meditation on everything from race and class and cultural impermanence to the inexhaustible malleability of youth.
  2. 75
    This picture is absorbing -- and eye-filling -- whether the prose and the passion are connecting or running on parallel tracks.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    The movie's strength is its refusal to offer easy answers.
  4. Writer-director Caroline Link (who did the Oscar-nominated "Beyond Silence") adapted Stefanie Zweig's expatriate memoir gracefully, languidly and with full understanding of its heroine.
  5. 70
    For the most part this is a scenic and well-scored Holocaust survival tale.
  6. 100
    It is so rare to find a film where you become quickly, simply absorbed in the story.
  7. A lovely film with a deeply humane perspective.
  8. If lush landscapes and exotic wildlife are what you're after, this isn't the safari for you. But many moviegoers will respond to its mixture of family drama and Holocaust-era history.
  9. Audience empathy for the displaced Redlichs, coupled with the filmmaker's proffered charms of wise natives and their mysterious rituals, goes a long way toward making this lyrical travelogue a crowd pleaser.
  10. 90
    The movie gives us lovingly shot landscapes, portraits of extraordinary friendships, a great score, dialogue that only occasionally slips into history lessons, a number of memorably etched minor characters, a splendid performance by its youngest star and two mysteries.
  11. 80
    The movie's real strength lies in its intelligent, sympathetic account of the dynamic, difficult marriage of Regina's parents.
  12. This is an intelligent epic told without special pleading, a film able to cut deep enough to reveal a keen specificity of experience.
  13. 88
    It has everything Oscar voters fall in love with: sweep, romance, accessibility and social conscience.
  14. Though the story itself is undeniably fascinating, this somewhat prosaic account simply doesn't do it justice.
  15. 50
    Schmaltzy and endless.
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    This German movie, with its lush cinematography and lovely score, has the sturdiness of an old-fashioned Hollywood epic. What isn’t Hollywood is Link’s refusal to tell the audience how to feel at every moment.
  17. Enchanted and thrilling film.
  18. Never quite escapes the Euro-centric blinders of its characters, but its engagement with their evolving sense of identity and story of empowerment and acceptance is nonetheless rousing.
  19. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    60
    There's something too refined and emotionally neutral about Nowhere in Africa, as if Link had directed with white gloves. Maybe she knew how loaded this African-Jewish subject was and didn't want it push it too hard. Maybe that's why she won an Oscar.
  20. 50
    With sumptuous widescreen photography and a pounding world-music score, the film makes for an absorbing travelogue at best, as pretty as a picture book and just as flat on the surface.
  21. Isn't really a dull film so much as an oddly quaint one that seems to find a comfortable perspective about drastic circumstances.
  22. This is a fictional film, but it is based on a novel by Stefanie Zweig that is autobiographical. The adaptation was done by the director Caroline Link, whose screenplay is serviceable and whose directing is generally sure.
  23. Despite a shaky narrative focus and dramatic reticence, its journey is consistently absorbing.
  24. 70
    Beautifully shot on location in Kenya and filled with touching, almost magical moments, Link's film has been nominated for the 2002 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film.
  25. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    It's also as good as "Out of Africa."
  26. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    70
    Easy on the eye and effortlessly entertaining across almost 2½ hours.
  27. 50
    A straightforward epic, almost alarmingly quaint in the telling.
  28. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    100
    Everywhere in Nowhere in Africa, skill and art translate into vivid life.
  29. 80
    Consistently absorbing family saga is primarily a safari of the soul.
  30. 60
    What rescues the film is Gernot Roll's spare, almost aesthetic cinematography, and the quality of the acting.

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