Bride of the Wind (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bride of the Wind (2001)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Bride of the Wind drags for its length, and Alma, rather than being the proto-feminist the film wants her to be, comes across more as a dilettante of mediocre talent.

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Movie Info

Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) delivers this fact-based drama about one of the most fascinating private lives of the 20th century. Alma Schindler (Sarah Wynter) was one of the most renowned young beauties in turn-of-the-century Vienna, sought after as a romantic conquest by some of the most famous men in the city, including the artist Gustav Klimt (August Schmolzer). She is won, however, by the most challenging and enigmatic artistic figure of them all, composer/conductor Gustav Mahler (Jonathan Pryce). His one demand is that she give up her own aspirations as a composer, which she has nursed for years. She agrees, and their marriage proves to be a devoted yet loveless union, producing two children but leaving Alma bereft of affection. She suppresses her frustrations as her husband's star rises, sublimating her ambitions completely. His career advances yield extraordinary music but equally notable controversies, and the marriage is riven by stress. When their oldest daughter dies, Alma's health is broken. While convalescing at a sanitarium, she meets another patient, Walter Gropius (Simon Verhoeven). He is gentle and attentive, and they begin an affair, which her husband accidentally learns of later. Their marriage survives, but Mahler also knows that he is a doomed man because of a damaged heart. After his death, Alma Mahler marries Gropius, an ambitious young architect with revolutionary ideas. Their marriage lasts but a few years, for Alma is drawn to another man, the artist Oskar Kokoschka (Vincent Perez). Kokoschka is young, iconoclastic, and daring -- all of the things that the career- and status-oriented Gropius isn't. Their affair yields a renowned painting of Alma that Kokoschka calls Bride of the Wind, a depiction of their passion amid a storm-swept background. They also conceive a child that Alma decides not to carry to term. She returns to Gropius for a time, while Kokoschka sells the painting for enough money to buy a commission in the army, and he is reported killed in action during World War I. Finally, after leaving Gropius, Alma meets a gifted author, Franz Werfel (Gregor Seberg), whom she marries. Her past catches up with her in an odd way, however, when Kokoschka returns, having survived the war and captivity -- he is still obsessed with Alma, to the point that he walks around Vienna in the company of a life-size doll of her, which he destroys in a fit of anger one night at a party. Meanwhile, in Alma's life with Franz Werfel, she finally finds peace and fulfillment, even as a composer -- the movie ends with a 1925 recital at which soprano Frances Alda (Renee Fleming) performed Alma Mahler Werfel's songs.

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Cast

Sarah Wynter
as Alma Mahler
Jonathan Pryce
as Gustav Mahler
Vincent Perez (III)
as Oskar Kokoschka
Simon Verhoeven
as Walter Gropius
Gregor Seberg
as Franz Werfel
August Schmölzer
as Gustav Klimt
Marion Rottenhofer
as Bertha Zuckerland
Johannes Silberschneider
as Alexander Zemlinsky
Daniela Dadieu
as Justine Mahler
Dagmar Schwarz
as Anna Moll
Sophie Schweighofer
as Anna Mahler (age 6)
Brigitte Antonius
as Frau Kokoschka
Johanna Mertinz
as Frau Gropius
Erwin Ebenbauer
as Dr. Alfred Loos
Franziska Becker
as Maria Mahler (age 3)
Sonia Madani
as Maria Mahler (age 5)
Katrina Sztachovic
as Anna Mahler (age 3)
Michaela Illetschko
as Anna Mahler (age 13)
Renée Fleming
as Frances Alda
Jean-Yves Thibaudet
as Alda's Accompanist
Peter Gruber
as Dr. Blumenthal
Doris Pascher
as Sophie Clemenceau
Robert Herzl
as Arnold Schonberg
Werner Prinz
as Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Patricia Hirschbichler
as Duchess Sophie
Bernhard Bauer
as Clarinettist
Marianne Mendt
as Alma's Maid
Angelika Rossaro
as Alma's Maid
Merab Ninidze
as Russian Soldier
Josef Schutzhofer
as Cavalry Sergeant
Mijou Kovacs
as Tobelbad Patient
Anita Kolbert
as Tobelbad Patient
Monkia Mandl
as Klimt's Model
Rich Cowan
as Mute Waiter
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Critic Reviews for Bride of the Wind

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (28)

Alma Mahler is flirting again.

April 7, 2009 | Full Review…

An often silly and oddly tepid biopic from director Bruce Beresford.

March 19, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

As Sarah Wynter plays Alma, it's difficult to see what all the hue and cry was about.

January 22, 2002

Watching it is like walking, walking, walking down a never-ending aisle.

September 20, 2001

The filmmakers' limited notions of genius, simple humanity and, probably, feminism seem to have defeated everyone involved.

August 9, 2001

The turgid Marilyn Levy screenplay ... induced giggles at the screening.

June 29, 2001 | Full Review…

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