Synopsis: A lavish romantic drama that charts the lives of three women from different backgrounds, forever changed when they emigrate to New Zealand as war brides. Eager to escape the gloom of post-war Holland, shy but sensual farm girl Ada, dogmatic Marjorie, and Jewish fashion designer Esther become friends during the 1953 KLM flight that carried the brides to their waiting husbands, who have already settled in Christchurch. They part ways on arrival in their new country and begin their new lives, but their paths continue to cross in the years to come. Chance meetings result in love affairs, betrayal and impenetrable bonds, leading up to a final reunion fifty years later.
Release Date: June 10, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): MeloDrama, Romance
There is melodrama, and then there is MELODRAMA. Bride Flight‘s genre specification belongs in the latter category along side such a film as Imitation of Life; and this is a complement. The film is dripping with romance, forbidden love, dramatic family entanglements, and oh so many secrets.
The story revolves around three women who, as fictionalized in the film, participated in the historic “Bride Flight” of 1953 during the Air Race London. The flight was given the name “Bride Flight” because of the amount of women on board who were heading to New Zealand to meet their fiances who had already settled on the Island. A historic flight in history is here set as a backdrop for a bond between three female strangers who meet on the plane and have the rest of their lives entangled together. Ada (Karina Smulders) is a young, naive, and beautiful girl who has never left her home country prior to the flight. She is set to meet her fiance and to be married immediately because she is pregnant with his child. Her soon-to-be husband is a devoutly religious man whom she does not love, but feels obligated due to their “sin before God” to marry. Esther (Anna Drjver) is betrothed to a Jewish man who wants nothing more than to keep their faith going, and to preserve the Jewish heritage in their new home. As a Jewish woman who wants nothing more to do with being Jewish, the independent and driven Esther makes her own path, while harboring the darkest of secrets that leads her into a lifelong pact with the third woman on the plane, Marjorie (Elise Schaap). While Marjorie’s life is full of its own heartbreak she is the one who finds the happiest outcome in her new country with a husband she adores, and the family she desires.
The main element that ties all of these women together, in strikingly different ways, is in the form of a man, Frank (Waldemar Torenstra)–played by Rutger Hauer in his older years. Frank touches each of these women’s lives in very distinct and emotional ways. For Ada he is the man she loved but could never be with, for Esther the man she always wished loved her, and for Marjorie, a constant presence in her son’s life as a role model and friend. The intersecting storylines of the three women always come back to Frank in one matter or another. He is also what draws them together after years of not having contact upon his death. The three women attend his funeral and confront the years of secrets, hurt, and regrets they feel in a beautifully shot scene as they walk through Frank’s vineyard. It is a scene made for a picture of this melodramatic magnitude as the sun shines behind them, the shadows dance in the fields, the music weeps, and these three women finally acknowledge the many truths they have never been able to reveal.
The majority of the film takes place in flashback, chronicling the early years of the women settling in New Zealand and the ways in which their lives evolve. Many years are covered in a short amount of time on film but with great care Director Ben Sombogaart manages to never cheat one woman over another in terms of growth, and development. Ada, Esther, and Marjorie are three very different women, and it is their differences that keep the story interesting, and scandalous with their varying choices. Bride Flight can easily be called a guilty pleasure of a film. It seems more suited for a soap filled afternoon on the Lifetime Television Network than in a movie theater. Alas, it plays just as well on the “big” screen as it would at home. There is always room for another soapy melodrama, and if that type of film pleases you then you could not go wrong with Bride Flight.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Ben Sombogaart
- Producer(s): Marieke van der Pol
- Screenwriter(s): Karina Smulders (Ada)Waldemar Torenstra (Frank)Anna Drjver (Esther)
- Story: Elise Schaap (Marjorie)
- Cast: Rutger Hauer (Old Frank)Willeke van Ammelrooy (Old Esther)Petra Laseur (Old Marjorie) Pleuni Touw (Old Ada)Herman P. KoertsPiotr KuklaMichel De Graaf
- Cinematographer: Jeannot Sanavia
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: NetherlandsLuxembourg