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 globetrotting, 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 fiancs, this handsome stranger will end up changing all of their lives---especially the 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 Ben Sombogaart's weepie from being more soapy than serious. A secret adoption pact, surprisingly racy sex scenes and one 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.
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