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: