As I work on my novel, these sentiments often consume my thoughts. And, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it seems appropriate to focus on a crucial ingredient for a successful courtship.
The most attractive pairing can fall flat to the viewers if there’s no kissing chemistry.
If done well, a single kiss at the end of a tale can be powerful enough to be the climax in itself. Nothing more needed to satisfy.
It’s for that reason that the superbly rendered 2005 Pride & Prejudice disappointed. I felt cheated when Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy never had their big moment. They captured the emotions so well, but when it came time for the kiss, I felt a bit like this.
So, in celebration of this important element, I’ve compiled a list of films that stick the landing on the lip lock.
To narrow the field, I excluded television programs, which means no Derek & Meredith, no Ross & Rachel, and no Buffy & Angel. Only full length films are featured in this spoiler-filled report.
Catwoman & Batman (Batman Returns – Mistletoe Kiss) – How many licks does it take to steal Batman’s heart?
Little known fake fact: Michael Keaton insisted on several retakes. “Let’s go again. I can do better.”
And speaking of batmen…
Dracula & Mina (Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Absinthe Kiss) – It was a great year for kissing. And, okay, I’m cheating a little here since this shot didn’t exactly make it into the movie, but just look at that. They played these roles so well, it didn’t matter how much they veered from the novel.
Han & Leia (The Empire Strikes Back – Scoundrel Kiss) – A kiss so powerful, it rewrote history. The undeniable chemistry between Han and Leia could not be ignored. (It prompted Lucas to soften the scoundrel so he’d be worthy of his princess — ultimately weakening his character arc, but that’s a whole other rant.)
This is when Leia could no longer lie to herself. Leading with a sensual hand massage, Han called her out through their banter, exposing her denial and obvious attraction to him.
Freddie & Hester (The Deep Blue Sea – Pretty much all of them) – I challenge you to find an undeserving kiss between these two. Frankly, Freddie Page may just be the best kisser in cinematic history. It’s obvious why Hester would skydive into this destructive relationship because…
It’s even rumored that Rachel Weisz said she wanted to bite Tom Hiddleston when she licked him. I doubt he would have minded.
Countess Olenska & Arthur Newland (The Age of Innocence – Confession Kiss) – I could go on for days discussing the merits of this beautifully tragic story, but I’ll save it for my Hidden Gem review.
Sticking to the topic, Arthur’s sensual kisses when admitting his love for Ellen punctuate his yearning like the decadent buttercream frosting on your last birthday cake. My heart aches for them as she explains the impossibility of a future together.
Yet, they share this tender moment to express their ill-fated love before parting.
He doesn’t go for the obvious indulgence, but instead uses each brush of his lips to worship her.
Milton Warden & Karen Holmes (From Here to Eternity – Beach Kiss) – Admittedly, this movie did not live up to its hype for me. But, this kiss?
Totally worth all the sand she’ll have to clean out of her, um, hair.
Romeo Montague & Juliet Capulet (Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet – Balcony Kiss) – Aye me, what can I say?
John & Miriam (The Hunger – Shower Kiss) – Nothing says I love you like a post-kill shower kiss. How long could you kiss a man like David Bowie?
Kathryn Merteuil & Cecile Caldwell (Cruel Intentions – Purely Instructional Kiss) – I applaud Kathryn’s dedication to revenge. When she taught the naive Cecile how to French kiss, everyone who watched, sat at attention — gay, straight, or otherwise.
I hear she’s giving lessons at the Y. Any takers?
Noah & Allie (The Notebook – Rain Kiss) – No best kissing list would be complete without this. Even if you aren’t satisfied with the adaptation, you can’t deny the effectiveness. The actors, themselves, fell in love. And, really, how could they not?
The success of this kiss hinged on both the natural chemistry between the actors and the masterful build-up.
Romantic row on the lake. (Check)
Impassioned argument to heat things up. (Check)
Sweeping background score. (Check) Okay, you can’t see it, but trust me, it was there.
Rain. (Check, Check — and then some)
All culminating in one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.
And the scene that follows is…
Well, I hope your hearts are all aflutter as we wrap up this topic. Which iconic kisses did I miss? Let me know in the comments. Until then…
Love and kisses.