A period piece with a lot of style, good acting and directing Bride Flight inspired by a true event provides a visual delight for romantics. I liked the film for its characters, the interesting story and New Zealand photography. If you take your romance served slowly yet gracefully then Bride Flight’s a delicious treat.
The story involves three intended brides, Ada (Karina Smulders) a young woman desperate for companionship, Esther (Anna Drijver) a holocaust survivor with dreams of being a designer and Marjorie (Elise Schaap) on her way to start a family, that travel to New Zealand following World War II. The three become friends fast on their long trip from Holland. During the flight Ada meets Frank (Waldemar Torenstra) who is on his way to start a new life in the far county and the two become enamored with each other. When the four finally land at their destination they realize that a bond has been made, but to what end?
I like the way director Ben Sombogaart (his film Twin Sisters was nominated for an Oscar in 2002) weaves his tail making sure each of his characters are developed before throwing them into their new lives. Although he takes a long time with the story his characters are amazingly addictive with charming qualities that induce you to want more. Not overbearing with a single subject, he takes the three women and intertwines their relationships playing out each act as one story.
A fine cast lead by Smulders as the lovely yet romantically confused Ada graces the screen with a stunning performance that keeps the viewer wanting more. Smulders’ chemistry with Torenstra as Frank makes the romanticism realistic and compelling. The two smolder up the screen with their love for each other.
The cinematography of post WWII New Zealand showing the beauty and promise of the land helps the story along. I liked the way Sombogaart fits his costumed actors into the rugged sets providing a step back into the past. Aided by some great natural formations, hot springs, 1940’s settlements and majestic mountains, the film becomes somewhat of a travelogue as well.
Bride Flight is rated R for a strong sex scene and some graphic nudity. The film also contains a traumatic birthing scene and some violence. Subtitles are provided for the Dutch language.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A nicely played out romantic adventure. (B)
Scottsdale Film Festival – Audience Award for Best Film
Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival – Audience Favorite Award
Rehoboth Beach Film Festival – Best Feature Audience Award
Newport Beach Film Festival – Best Feature Film, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Screenplay