This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
flurryheaven’s review published on Letterboxd :
This review may contain spoilers.
The minute I saw the US trailer, I guessed the whole entire plot, guessed correctly how it ended but I knew I'd just love it to bits. It screamed me. It's got a well worn movie plot, but delivers it very well. Spoilers away.
Starting the movie with real life events, brides from Holland flew to New Zealand to meet their husbands or soon to be husbands that immagrated to New Zealand after War World Two. On the plain, we meet Ada, Frank, Esther and Marjorie, who all become fast friends with each other. Ada and Frank, sitting right next to each other fall in the love the movie way, instantly at first sight. Ada breaks the news to Frank that she's already sorta married and pregnant. They can't be together and so they go their seprate ways. Ada goes with her very religious and crappy husband, Frank goes off and has a brief fling with Esther.
Now to the best part of the movie. Esther and Marjorie become roomies at a boarding house before their respected marriages. Esther refuses marriage, scared by the war, doesn't want to be tied down or have a family. Marjorie on the other hand is thrilled with her husband and marriage. After a devasting miscarrage, she learns she can never have children. In comes Esther who is pregnant (by Frank) and makes a deal to give her baby to Marjorie and for awhile things are okay.
Years later all four friends are reunited when Marjorie discovers that Esther, who has become a fashion designer, has opened a new shop close to were she lives. It unsettles Marjorie because she fears that Esther will take her now ten year old son away. Of course Marjorie and Frank are still close. Frank has a very close relationshiop with Marjorie's son, he has no idea the kid is his, nor does Marjorie at that point. Through Marjorie, Ada begins to write to Frank. After the letters are discovered Ada's husband loses his shit and Ada leaves to find Frank. Things do not go well from that point on and it's pretty easy to see where the story goes from there.
I love this movie. Even though the story is extremely predictable, I enjoyed it. I didn't really care about the ill fated love between Ada and Frank, I was much more invested in Marjorie's and Esther's story. For me, that was the best part, the meat of it all, the glue that kept everyone connected. The cast was excellent, the story has been done before in various ways but it was still so engaging due to the cast selling it. The film was pretty seamless, flashing from the present to the past without any confusion or hiccups. Everyone looked so good, the costumes, sets and atmosphere were all on point, it's a very well made good looking film.