Reporting Jonathon Sharp
I’ve seen two miserable movies this year, and Bride Flight is one of them.
The other, just in case you’re wondering, is Soul Surfer – an impossibly longwinded mess of evangelistic surfer bropaganda. In my defense, I saw that movie on Mother’s Day, and my mother didn’t even like it. Anyway, let’s look at Bride Flight.
Bride Flight fails precisely where it needs to succeed, which is in the depiction of romance and intimacy. To be fair, the great Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski once said that intimacy is one of the most difficult things to capture in cinema. However, I’m not sure that quite excuses Bride Flight’s offenses.
The greatest offense Bride Flight makes is in its big sex scene, which has to be one of the most miserable things I’ve ever witnessed in a theater. It involves the film’s lustiest romance, and within its span of five or so minutes the visual relationship between the couple goes from tolerable to disgusting.
The scene plays out like soft-core pornography produced for late-night programming on the Hallmark Channel, if such a horror existed. I’m not sure what exactly made the scene so terrible, but perhaps it was the violins swooning over an artless image of oral sex. The scene made me so uncomfortable I was squirming in my seat.
The scene is a shame for many reasons, the greatest being that the girl involved (the wide-eyed Karina Smulders) is so lovely. She has the figure of a Venus and while watching her nude one almost glitters inside of her extravagant nakedness, as the poet Jorge Guillén might have said. Tragically, however, the film’s direction and cinematography make her into a clown.
Before I move on from the sex scene, I’d like to point out that it gives the film its R-rating. Incidentally, that scene also makes the film certainly worth missing.
In an act of fairness, I think I should mention the movie’s story, which does have some merits. It’s about a group of women who fly from post-WWII Holland to start news lives in New Zealand. The lovely clown I wrote of above flies to be wed to a fundamentalist jerk with whom she slept with in an act of pity. Another woman, a fashion designer, looks to fashion a new identity for herself after her family was killed in the Holocaust. And another woman looks to start a family, but turns out to be infertile.
The lives of all these women cross and re-cross, and the resulting story is nice enough. It doesn’t, however, come anywhere near redeeming the film from what it does so poorly.
If you are determined to see this movie (perhaps because you love the Dutch language) or if you have nothing else to do, I almost suggest seeing this movie ironically – that is, watching it as if it were a comedy.
Bride Flight is currently playing at the Edina Cinema.