Meg gets an Eiffel, as Clooney French Kisses Pfeiffer

Who doesn’t love a good kiss, a witnessed meeting of two mouths on the big screen? Movie kisses are the embodiment of all the beautiful feelings you experience when being kissed. That’s why a good cinematic kiss can tingle the spine, and make or break the entire film.What prompted this little outburst was the habit of English television showing the same film over and over in a short period of time. Catching pieces frequently and remembering how much I love French Kiss. I’m a sucker for French Kiss. It gets me every time, and while we’re on the subject of kisses, it should be noted that Meg Ryan had the mechanics of screen kissing down to a fine art.Contrary to what you may believe, French Kiss is not a sequel to Prelude to a Kiss, although Ryan’s comic timing never fails to delight. The kiss comes in the middle of the film when Ryan’s runaway bride-to-be Kate, asleep on a train, dreams of her fiance. She rolls over and, still asleep, starts kissing her travelling companion Luc, played by Kevin Kline.Until this point her Kate has been prone to bouts of nausea and fits of hysteria, but when she kisses Luc, she changes before your eyes. The obligatory screen kiss becomes a defining character moment. With her peroxide locks, and her rosebud lips aquiver, Kate is transformed into a classic screwball ingénue.I love this moment. You can find it in almost all my favourite Meg Ryan movies, I call it the “melt moment,” the moment when one character melts the other’s heart, melts through his or her resistance, and…amor vincit omnia, of course!The melt moment isn’t restricted to Meg Ryan films. George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer cooked up a classic in One Fine Day. It may take almost the entirety of the film for their lips to meet, but when they do I’m always glad that DVDs don’t wear out like VHS tapes, because it’s endlessly watchable.Michelle’s character was a nice riposte to the fantasy figure played by Meg in a number of her films. It’s a role she nailed, with a steely combination of wit, determination and romanticism, in the best tradition of Hawksian women.The conclusion of One Fine Day actually makes more sense than French Kiss, as a reflection of “real life,” but I don’t always want to watch real life. Somewhere between Bringing Up Baby and To Catch a Thief, Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock there exists a romantic comedy that just is. French Kiss is that movie.



Filed under Retrospective

24 responses to “Meg gets an Eiffel, as Clooney French Kisses Pfeiffer

  1. I love the film French Kiss. I wish Meg and Kevin had worked together again. Love the scenes on the train, and when she catches sight of the Eiffel Tower going past. A very romantic and funny film.

  2. Ah, what a lovely post. Got me thinking of those kisses that give that funny feeling in the stomach, or spine, or wherever it is (can never quite describe the feeling)…but it is wonderful! Nothing quite like that perfectly timed kiss…

    • Thanks. Favourite film kisses would be a good subject for a post, don’t you think? Meg Ryan would feature heavily in mine and George and Michelle in One Fine Day would be on or somewhere near the top!

      • I was actually thinking that last night…but was in Snabba Cash mode which definitely wasn’t kiss-mode. I’d go for Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe behind the fortress walls (you know which movie). Or that lovely one in the fishing store of Catch and Release with Jennifer Garner and Timothy Olyphant. Hmmm…now I’m all dreamy-eyed…sorry…kiss-eyed 😉

      • Oooh, ooh…I forgot one…Anne Baxter and Gregory Peck in Yellow Sky. What a kiss!

  3. Agreed. If I see Madagascar on BBC1 one more sodding time 😠

    One of my favourite screen snogs is when Carole Lombard manhandles her ex-husband in My Man Godfrey – the look on Godfrey’s face! Oh and the ending to Double Harness when William Powell and Ann Harding finally embrace is just too romantic for words…

    • Oh man I envy Godfrey. Who wouldn’t want to be snogged by Carole Lombard? She was positively glorious. Irene Bullock reminded me a little of Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) in Bringing Up Baby, a lady who will never be ready to give up her man!
      Poor Gail Patrick. In the 30s she was the female equivalent of Ralph Bellamy, the unsympathetic rival who didn’t stand a chance against whoever was the female star of the film!

  4. Awesome 🙂 Reminds me of the end of Cinema Paradiso. –Paul

  5. Great post 🙂 In terms of the behavior of a character, Meg Ryan got to play a character in French Kiss similar to that of Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in One Fine Day. Make no mistake, Meg Ryan’s Kate in French Kiss and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Melanie in One Fine Day are two completely different characters, I just thought it sounded like an interesting way to look at it 🙂

    • That is interesting, looking at two different characters in the same genre, and contrasting the qualities Pfeiffer and Ryan bring to them. I recently read a review of One Fine Day that claimed “some of Pfeiffer’s traits are shamelessly lifted from When Harry Met Sally…!”
      I don’t think Meg Ryan’s Kate and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Melanie would have got along very well. But I’d have happily paid to watch them sitting together, on a transatlantic flight or a New York taxi ride, talking over each other and arguing themselves to a standstill!

  6. Massive fan of French Kiss.

  7. I thought I was a real Meg Ryan fan, but here’s another of her films I’ve never seen (French Kiss). And with Kevin Kline, too! Good grief – I’ve got some catching up to do.

    • From Vancouver to Paris, then by train to the glitter of Cannes, French Kiss is a feast for the eyes. It’s almost a throwback to the screwball pictures of the 30’s with Meg the Carole Lombard to Kline’s Clark Gable.

  8. Wow – how have I missed out on French Kiss?! Thanks for that – she’s always fun to watch!

  9. WOW!! So ‘French Kiss’ is just that kind of movie!! Can you believe I still haven’t seen ‘French Kiss’????

    • To quote Roger Ebert: ” It takes place mostly in Paris and Cannes, two of the most photogenic cities on earth, and Owen Roizman’s cinematography makes love to the locations.
      Ryan does a breathtaking job with the age-old transformation scene, turning from a caterpillar into a butterfly by ditching her sweats and putting on one of those French designer dresses that look like sexual gift wrapping.” What else needs to be said?

  10. Great post and well written! Would you mind dropping us a follow? We’re a new site trying to gain traction.

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