Bride of the Wind

Alma Mahler the historical figure is a fascinating woman. She was an accomplished composer who married, or had relationships with Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, Oskar Kokoschka, and Franz Werfel, all important figures in their respective fields (musician, architect, painter, and writer/poet). The Bride of the Wind's Alma Mahler (Sarah Wynter, The 6th Day, Lost Souls) is has neither the depth nor the talent seemingly present in the real-life Mahler. Bride of the Wind (named after a painting by Kokoschka) is merely a pretty looking movie, with little substance or effort, which is a shame, since director Bruce Beresford (Ataturk, Double Jeopardy) is capable of so much better.

Mahler seems to be a muse for all of her men. She inspires them to write, paint, or compose better. She is a good wife, submitting dutifully to her husbands/lovers, doing as much as she can to increase their artistic effort. Her trade-off is that she abandons her own work. Writer Marilyn Levy chooses to focus on the beginnings and endings of Mahler's relationships, leaving her character woefully underdeveloped. The portrait of Mahler that emerges is not one of brilliant artist, but insecure housewife. She falls madly in love with each succeeding man, only to later complain that he is stifling her creativity. Beresford barely shows Mahler in the middle of the creative process, so it's hard believing within the confines of the movie that Mahler is someone anybody should care about.

Bride of the Wind does not explore anybody's personality with much depth. As a result, Gustav Mahler (Jonathan Pryce, Game of Death, Stigmata) is only a brooding genius, Kokoschka (Vincent Perez, I Dreamed of Africa, Time Regained) is the mad artist, Gropius (Simon Verhoeven, Party Girl, My Mother's Courage) is a boring academic, and Werfel (Gregor Seberg, Tartot-Passion) is the perfect man. It's sad that in a biographical movie, the subject gets the least character development. No one can even define Mahler through the men of her life. The most anybody can infer from Bride of the Wind is that she has great choice in men.

It is also not clear how good of an actress Wynter is. She does not do much at all in Bride of the Wind. Her last two films were not exactly rigorous acting exercises. Wynter looks graceful and elegant (but maybe is a little too eager to get naked) and her delivery is okay, but nothing stands out. Is this Wynter, or is this the script? Most likely a little of both, with heavy emphasis on the latter. Bride of the Wind ends up as nothing more than one of the many pretty period romances, minus the structured acting, minus the good performances, minus any true substance, and minus any number of other elements. Hopefully, Alma Mahler was nowhere near as dull as Bride of the Wind portrays her.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated R for sexuality and nudity.

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