Constant Gardener, take me to Africa with you

While movies with an important and difficult message always leave me feeling sad, I like to watch them because I find them to be the most educational type of film after documentaries. The Constant Gardener is right there among Hotel Rwanda and Blood Diamond. Although the movie is from 2005, I’d never heard of it until about a week ago when I saw an image of Rachel Weisz with the words “Take me to Africa with you”. That was enough to pique my interest (I’ve been dreaming about going to Africa since I was a child).

The movie is based off of a novel by the same name by John le Carré. It’s about British diplomat Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) whose passion is gardening. His wife Tessa (Rachel Weisz) works on a project that she keeps hidden from him and gets killed. Justin is informed that Tessa was most likely killed because of a lover’s spat with a doctor whom she was working with. Justin finds this to be unlikely and goes off in search for the real reason behind Tessa’s murder.

The Constant Gardener highlights an important issue that is rarely mentioned: pharmaceutical companies test their medication on and give expired medicine to those in poor countries. The villagers in the movie, for example, were not given the antibiotics they needed without agreeing to treatment that consisted of testing new drugs which they were unaware of. It’s hard to believe that something like this is still happening in today’s day and age.

The film does a good job of not showing anything that would be too gruesome and instead displays the natural beauty in Kenya. It’s a striking contrast compared to the homes of the villagers (as are the houses where the diplomats stay when they are in Africa). I recommend The Constant Gardener as a great movie to get informed with a twist of a love story.

(Movie poster image clickable straight to source:
  • Gabriella

    I remember seeing this movie when it first came out. (Back then I had time to watch every single movie being released–ahhh those were the days.) I’m so happy you blogged about it bec it was a really good movie both from an entertainment and an informational perspective. I hope people who haven’t seen it end up watching it bec of your post!

  • Brandi {not your average ordinary}

    I’ve been meaning to see this movie for such a long time. Thank you for reminding me about it. Maybe I can find some time to sit down and watch. I really appreciate movies like this that bring real problems front and center.

  • miss

    yes! i saw this movie, you are so right. it is fantastic – but very sad. did you see in the end credits the director writes. None of the characters or corporations are real, but (let me find the quote) “But I can tell you this; as my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard.”
    exactly what i feared after watching the film. it’s horrendous.

  • Eva

    Miss – I didn’t catch that! Thank you for filling me in. I knew it was true, but it’s hard to imagine how much worse it could get.

  • Misty :)

    I have never heard of this movie but from what you say about it, it does sound like a good movie. I think I may try and find it and rent it sometime. Where did you get the pictures from? Did you google the images? The last three are absolutely gorgeous I think!!

  • Eva

    Misty – The photos are screenshots I took of the movie. I actually had a hard time picking which ones to feature here because there were quite a few beautiful scenes. It’s sad that such a beautiful country is full of so much horror.