It was inevitable that Bride of the Wind would have flaws, particularly in its structure and depth, as its subject matter is almost too large and deep for a serious drama; this was the kind of story that, in the 1950s or 1960s, would have been made as a 150-minute epic. As it is, even with the focus narrowed to a manageable length, the movie seems sketchy. Alma Schindler Mahler's life from 1902 through 1925 could reasonably have yielded three feature films, and director Bruce Beresford correctly focused on one key aspect: her unhappiness over her stymied creativity and her sexually and socially constricted existence, which drives her to terribly impulsive behavior in her love life. Beresford's film provides just enough insight into the time, setting, and personalities involved to make the film work as a period piece as well as a drama, without losing the significance of the supporting players and their impact on the world (though Mahler gets the lion's share of attention). The production design by Herbert Pinter and the score by Stephen Endelman (mostly adapted from the music of Gustav Mahler) also make Bride of the Wind a delight to watch and listen to, beyond the performances, which are uniformly first-rate. Jonathan Pryce makes a compelling Gustav Mahler, and Simon Verhoven, portraying Walter Gropius, looks like the reincarnation of Anton Walbrook. Perhaps nothing short of a ten-part miniseries along the lines of Berlin Alexanderplatz could do full justice to this subject, but Beresford has made a manageable work out of the material, one that is filled with passion and palpable love of the time, place, and characters.
by Bruce Eder review