Bride Flight | Film review
Three prospective brides meet an in-flight heartthrob.
One of the priciest Dutch-language films ever made, Bride Flight has the hard shell of a stuffy period piece and the gratifyingly gooey center of a globe-trotting, decade-spanning melodrama. Three prospective brides meet the dashing Frank (Torenstra, a charismatic heartthrob with disarmingly prominent ears) aboard a 1953 KLM flight competing in the London-Christchurch air race. Though the ladies are all leaving the Netherlands for New Zealand to marry their waiting fiancés, this handsome stranger will end up changing all of their lives—especially that of pretty, pregnant Ada (Smulders), who’s promised to a strict Protestant.
Relocation aside, the options are limited for the era’s females: Family-focused Marjorie (Schaap) feels worthless when her own childbearing goes awry; free-spirited Esther (Drijver) faces prejudice due to her lifestyle choices; and Ada is stuck in a loveless marriage. Trauma from WWII haunts each character, but even the historical foregrounding doesn’t keep director Sombogaart’s weepie from being more soapy than serious. A secret adoption pact, surprisingly racy sex scenes and one character’s frantic run through an airport while brandishing a menorah add up to a sometimes silly but enjoyable experience. As for the present-day framing story involving three women and a funeral, it’s primarily notable for offering a brief glimpse of Rutger Hauer in his first role in a Dutch feature in more than two decades.