The plane portrayed is a state of the art commercial airliner (for the time period). It is a propeller plane propelled by propellers rather than jet engines. Given its relative frailty, tempestuous weather causes it to stop in Karachi until the storminess abates. From the moment Ada (Karin Smulders) and Frank (Waldemar Torenstra) search each other's eyes they are in love. Their romance becomes furious during the layover in Karachi as she flees the plane seemingly scared for her life. Being a novice flyer, and having never left home leaves an indelible mark on her psyche. Regrettably, after embracing Frank in a fury of passion Ada reveals that she is both betrothed and pregnant. This proves to be a serious complication and one that has consequences.
Other fellow plane flight companions congregate as instant best friends. Among them are Esther (Anna Drijver) and Marjorie (Elise Schaap). Both expect to marry their husbands in plush and bountiful New Zealand. Truthfully however, there futures are ruefully uncertain. Once they are re-airborne it feels as though the remainder of the flight is fast-forwarded. This is not far from the truth as they manage to break the world record from Europe to New Zealand by ten hours (the record circa 1946!).
In the landing zone/greeting area, Marjorie and Esther find their spouses to be quite awkward and diffident. Ada Von Holland meanwhile contends with her feelings as she wants to never lose sight of Frank, but she quickly does. After finding her future husband to be an insensitive and gruff man, she sees Frank on the road but only for a mere moment as his vehicle veers in the other direction at a literal crossroad. The anticipation grows as we are uncertain about the fates of all three disconcerted women.
During the film's crucial moments there are scenes from the present where Ada, Esther and Marjorie are attending a funeral. The flashbacks remind me of The Notebook except more frequent, and of Titanic because of the beautiful yet lugubrious music that is pervasive and omnipresent. The music brilliantly sets the tone for the touching and nerve-wrecking moments. How apropos that the film is a production of Music Box Films.
Marjorie is truly the only lucky romantic in the entire picture. Her husband is a supportive sweetheart that loves her for who she is. Esther is chronically plagued by choices and their consequences. Having been bereft of family because of their death during the Holocaust, her journey to New Zealand will literally create a new life or destroy the fabric of her existence. Ada's husband is devoutly religious to a fault and plays the role of disapproving father much better than he does that of a supportive husband. One thing is certain dear readers, there is a sinuous road ahead for our travelers.
"Bride flight" in and of itself is a double entendre. One of the lessons or morals of Bride Flight is that life is short and must be lived happily or it will be sensationally wasted. Finding love in whatever form, be it something worked for, found naturally and whimsically, or something necessitated still constitutes the same endpoint. The music beautifully highlights the gripping moments of romance, misery and suspense. Bride Flight is a beautiful film, but one that movie lovers must be in the mood for or things could go sour quickly in this bittersweet melodrama.
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