Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Kiss-Off by Annie Solomon

Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, I decided to celebrate all things romance by watching one of my favorite movies…French Kiss. Not only is it a perfect Valentine’s Day love story, it has one of the best screen kisses of all time. It’s the final scene of the movie and doesn’t last long. It’s shot long, too, so we don’t get a close-up of either Kate or Luc, the movie’s protagonists. What we do see is the two of them against a wide expanse of green vineyard--the symbol of their future together. We see Kate’s back as Luc kisses her, crushing her dress as if he’ll never let her go. So much said with so little.

Gotta be my top screen kiss.

Coming in for a close second, the kiss between Cora and Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. Set in the midst of a losing battle in a fort under siege, it’s one of the few moments of peace in the whole movie, yet is as intense as the cannon fire in the background. Unlike the kiss Kate and Luc share, the focus here is close up, tight on Cora’s face as she clings to Hawkeye. We get the sense that she’s discovering what passion means, what respect means, what love means. And the discovery is life altering.

My list kind of blurs after that, but another favorite is from a small, but wonderful movie called The Outsider (based, by the way, on a Penelope Williamson romance). It’s Amish widow and gunslinger, not terribly original, but when Tim Daly takes Naomi Watts in his arms--in a corral full of sheep, no less--it says everything about yearning and the redemptive power of love.

As I was thinking about this last night, it occurred to me that what makes all these moments work is the hard-fought battle the hero and heroine wage to get there. Sometimes the battle involves realizing you don’t want what you think you did (French Kiss). Sometimes it means that in a violent world, love is the one thing worth dying for (Last of the Mohicans). Or that love is worth risking everything and everyone you know (The Outsider). But in order for the kiss to have real impact, the characters have to suffer for it. They have to struggle with themselves, or with those around them, or with each other. Or all three. Otherwise, who cares?

So, there you have it. My top three screen kisses. I’m sure I left out a whole bunch of good ones. Anyone out there got a fave?

17 comments:

Michelle said...

I LOOOOVE the movie French Kiss. The only movie I've ever found Kevin Kline to be sexy! And it probably wasn't because of the moustache. I've seen it about ten times.

The movie kiss that immediately came to mind was the one in The Notebook. In the rain. So passionate. Sigh.

And it's not a movie kiss, but a TV kiss, Sawyer and Kate on Lost when he's all tied up and tortured. Sounds nasty, but if you saw it... hummina hummina!!!

Annie Solomon said...

I haven't seen the Notebook. I have a thing about Nicholas Sparks. He's said some not very nice things about romance writers, so I don't support him in any way!

But Sawyer and Kate...must have been good, but I can barely remember. From the first season maybe? Sheesh I'm at that age... intersting that you like the Sawyer/Kate kiss but didn't mention the Jack/Kate kiss from this year. I'm not sure either one qualifies as having "suffered" for it!

Michelle said...

I don't like Jack. Frankly, I don't like Kate too much either. Jack's too...meh. Dull and good and heroic and pig-headed. I like southern bad boys. Especially when they're tied up. Did i just say that out loud?

Diane Perkins said...

Sigh. I say your last kiss is your best one! So I have to say I was blown away by Christine kissing The Phantom at the end of Phantom of the Opera (do I sound like a broken record?). It was the redemptive quality of the kiss that got to me, and the look on GB's face, like a starving man who finally got food. Sigh sigh sigh.
I also loved the kiss in Pride & Prejudice, after Darcy walks out of the mist.
I can't even remember the kisses in French Kiss or the Notebook or Last of the Mohicans but I have a short memory.
I remember the LOST kiss. Eh. It had a bit of an ich factor to it, not that I'd mind kissing Sawyer tied up or not!
Diane

Robin T. Popp said...

I agree that the kiss in Phantom of the Opera was really powerful. And I sort of remember the kiss in The Notebook and remember it was good. I love French Kiss, but don't remember that kiss in particular as being one to remember. LOL Good excuse to watch the movie again.

The kiss that immediately came to my mind as the one I most remember (beware, vampire author here) is the one between Buffy and Spike in Season Six: "Smashed" episode. It was when Spike finally had the freedom to be himself - a full vampire - not a tethered pet - around Buffy - and could finally act on his feelings. They get into a physical fight that quickly turns to something else. It was a hot, hot kiss - and long overdue.

Robin

Karen Rose said...

The one screen kiss that comes to mind is one I often wish didn't. It's Richard Gere and Julia Ormond in FIRST KNIGHT. Technically, this is an adulterous affair, but in the moment of that kiss, I found myself not caring. It starts full seconds before they actually kiss - this smoldering look from across the room that says they really want this, but are fighting it. Then they kiss and it's very hot.

But of the kisses I'm glad I liked :-) ... Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond in SABRINA (those are the only two Ormond movies I've seen, honest), Jack and Lucy at then end of WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, oh, oh, oh, and Sarah and Kyle up against the fridge in TERMINATOR. Oh, baby.

Michelle said...

Oh, and Robin, don't forget the Spike/Buffy kiss from Spike's dream at the beginning of Season 5. I think I've heard it to as "The kiss that launched a thousand fan fics." LOL

Shelley Bates said...

I second the one in FIRST KNIGHT. It's the passion of despair because they know they can't have each other, but they can seize just one moment. And of course that's the one moment that Sean Connery walks in on. Sigh :)

Shelley Bates

Elizabeth Hoyt said...

Ooo! How about the upside-down kiss in Spiderman? True, apparently Toby was drowning when it was being filmed, but oh, my, on the big screen...

And I take umbrage at your dissing Kevin Kline's sexiness, Michelle. What about um...A Fish Called Wanda? Okay, he played a maniac in that one, but he was a SEXY maniac!

Kelley St. John said...

Ooooh, I love this question! Okay, mine is Top Gun, after the beach volleyball (oh, what an AMAZING scene that was) when Maverick goes to Charlie's house. She's all hot and heated because he stood her up; he's all hot and heated...period. They kiss, and the scene is in silhouette against her back window. Oh man, THAT kiss---WOW.

Susan Crandall said...

I'm in complete agreement with the Cora/Hawkeye kiss. Another one of my favorites is between Tristan and ... now I can't remember the character's name, played by Julia Ormond, in Legends of the Fall.

Carol said...

I can't believe no one's mentioned the kiss in Dear Frankie. Talk about tension! Both of them so vulnerable and shy and yearning all at once.

Karmela Johnson said...

My favorite kiss of all time, movie or tv, was the one between syd and vaughn in season 2 of alias when they finally took down SD-6. Man, what a kiss. I esp. loved the 360-degree camera panning. Sigh...

Diane Perkins said...

Okay, Carol,
I was going to mention the kiss in Dear Frankie since I've watched it four times in the last few days, but I thought my Warner pals would throw something at me!
I loved that sweet, totally giving kiss! So perfect for the characters and so filled with genuine emotions. Loved it.
Stay tuned on this blog. I'm discussing Dear Frankie on Feb 20!
Diane

Annie Solomon said...

LOL! Love all your kisses, guys! Fun to be reminded of moments I'd forgotten...and to see what some people respond to that leaves me cold. Looking forward to your DF discussion, Diane--I love that movie. And talk about struggling for the kiss! And Karmela--can't remember that Vaughn/Sydney kiss, but anything between the two of them is great. Ditto to the Buffy/Spike love scene, one of the most amazing anywhere.

Colleen Gleason said...

What about the kiss in Return of the King at the end, when Aragorn gathers Eowyn (is that her name? I can never remember!) into his arms after he's been crowned. He just...falls on her in the most passionate way. Yum.

And of course, Diane's right on with the Phantom's kiss from Christine at the end...and you notice that she kisses him, and then kisses him again, as if she can't get enough either! Goes back for more! That's a girl after my own heart!

Funny you should mention Penelope Williamson, Annie, because I was just thinking about one of her other books myself today (I wrote a blog post about tortured heroes) and I hadn't even heard her name in a long time. Is she still writing? I loved Once in a Blue Moon.

Annie Solomon said...

Don't know if PW is still writing, Colleen. I borrowed an audio tape of one of her books from the library--it was an historical mystery set in New Orleans, but I don't think it was very recent. I googled her last week, and up came a page from Warner's website, but when I went to the site itself, I couldn't find her. I always wondered how The Outsider got made into a movie. Anyone have any news, let us PW fans know!