Shortly after WWII, Dutch natives began emigrating to prosperous New Zealand in hopes of starting anew. The film Bride Flight focuses on three bride-to-be’s who travel from Holland to Christchurch to meet up with their already emigrated fiances. Ada is a simple farm girl with big dreams, Esther is a brash businesswoman, Marjorie a gentle motherly sort. The three women become fast friends on the flight, where they also meet Frank, a handsome young man who will eventually touch them all in manners both figurative and literal. Time unfolds to the point of old age as the three elderly friends reunite for Frank’s funeral (old Frank is played by Rutger Hauer in what amounts to no more than a cameo). They look back on their past and gain a sense of appreciation for their present. The end.
Bride Flight takes place during a time period in which people would pick each other up and twirl them around and no one would take notice. The melodrama is heavy as are the emotions, which are actually rather sincere at times. It’s difficult not to feel the same yearning for Frank as young Ada does, especially considering her loveless marriage to the abusive parishioner. The film is full of twisty familial failings like that one, which give it a lively, Lifetime movie feel. The production is lavish, but unconvincing, again summoning visions of television rather than cinema. Moviegoers who actually remember The Last Great Air Race of 1953 will surely be pleased.
Bride Flight opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.