A Good Man in Africa

Watch A Good Man in Africa

  • R
  • 1993
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 5.0  (2,689)
  • 46

A Good Man in Africa is a dramedy from 1994 that follows the story of Morgan Leafy, a young and ambitious British diplomat stationed in a small and politically unstable African country. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by William Boyd and it offers a satirical take on the politics and social dynamics of post-colonial Africa, as well as on the foibles and contradictions of the Western intervention in developing nations.

The movie opens with Leafy, played by Colin Friels, attending a fancy-dress party organized by his corrupt and hedonistic boss, the High Commissioner (John Lithgow). Leafy is a socially awkward man who is eager to climb the bureaucratic ladder, but he struggles to fit in with the colonial elite and to navigate the intrigues of local politicians and businessmen. He also nurses an unrequited crush on one of his coworkers and his only friend, Hazel (Joanne Whalley), who is secretly married to the High Commissioner.

The main plot of the movie starts when Leafy is assigned to supervise the funding of a rural hospital that is meant to be a showcase of British aid and goodwill. Leafy sees this as an opportunity to prove his worth and to impress Hazel. However, things don't go as planned. Leafy quickly realizes that the hospital project is a mess. The local contractors and officials are embezzling funds, the workers are lazy and unreliable, and the local tribe that lives in the hospital grounds is hostile and uncooperative.

As Leafy struggles to salvage the project, he gets entangled in a web of lies, bribes, and betrayals. He also becomes the target of a blackmail scheme orchestrated by a powerful tribal chief, Dr. Honigmann (Sean Connery), who wants to secure a lucrative mining contract with the British government. Honigmann has incriminating photos of Leafy in compromising situations and he uses them to pressure him into helping his cause.

As the stakes get higher, Leafy finds himself increasingly isolated and disillusioned. He realizes that his idealistic vision of Africa and of Western benevolence is naïve and misguided. He also confronts his own prejudices and weaknesses, as he witnesses the cruelty, corruption, and violence that plague the country. In the end, Leafy must decide whether to follow his conscience or his career, and whether to betray his friends or his principles.

A Good Man in Africa is a well-crafted and entertaining movie that blends humor, drama, and social commentary in a satisfying way. The director, Bruce Beresford, who is known for his acclaimed films such as Driving Miss Daisy and Tender Mercies, creates a vivid and colorful portrait of Africa that mixes beauty and brutality, tradition and modernity, hope and despair. The cinematography by Andrzej Bartkowiak captures the lush landscapes, the chaotic streets, and the diverse cultures of the country, while the music by composer Georges Delerue adds a lively and poignant touch to the scenes.

The performances in the movie are also excellent. Colin Friels portrays Morgan Leafy as a complex and sympathetic character who undergoes a transformative journey. Leafy is both an underdog and an anti-hero, a man who wants to do the right thing but who is also driven by ambition and desire. Friels infuses him with a mix of vulnerability, humor, and pathos, and he manages to convey the contradictions and nuances of his personality.

Sean Connery, in his role as Dr. Honigmann, is also a standout. He plays him with a sly and charismatic charm that masks his ruthless and cunning nature. His scenes with Friels are some of the movie's highlights, as they engage in a game of cat-and-mouse that is both tense and comical.

Joanne Whalley, despite having a relatively small role, brings a lot of depth and intelligence to her character, Hazel. She is more than a love interest or a plot device; she is a smart and perceptive woman who sees through the façade of colonialism and who tries to make the best of her limited options.

In conclusion, A Good Man in Africa is a movie that deserves more attention and appreciation than it has received. It is a witty, poignant, and memorable story that tackles complex themes with wit and sensitivity. It is a movie that invites us to reflect on the nature of power, race, identity, and morality, and that entertains us along the way. If you haven't seen it, you should give it a chance. You might discover a hidden gem.

A Good Man in Africa is a 1993 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.0 and a MetaScore of 46.

A Good Man in Africa
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.0  (2,689)
  • Metascore