Friday, July 15, 2011

French Film: French Kiss (1995)

Okay, so this film isn't actually French, but it is set in Paris, so I'm counting it as a "French" film. 

Title: French Kiss
Year: 1995
Starring: Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno
Plot: Kate (Meg Ryan), an American, flies to Paris in order to bring back her fiancé, Charlie (Timothy Hutton), who has fallen in love with the beautiful Juliette (Suzan Anbeh). On the flight from Canada to France, she meets Luc (Kevin Kline), a crook who, without Kate knowing it, stows a stolen necklace inside a plant and sticks it in her bag in order to get it through customs. When she disappears, he has to track her down, only to find that her bag has been stolen by a rival thief. Kate and Luc work together to find the necklace and join forces to try and break up Charlie and Juliette (who has a history with Luc). Along the way they find themselves developing feelings for one another.

Why You Should Watch It: I could explain this in, with only one sentence. You should watch this movie because I actually liked it. Now, I'm not saying that I'm an expert on film; I most certainly am not. What I mean is that this movie falls under two categories of things that I hate: chick flicks and films with Meg Ryan in them. Despite that fact, I found this film to be funny, charming, and all-around enjoyable. Why?

1) Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline have insanely good chemistry. Their journey to falling in love is both believable and fun to watch. They begin the film by despising each other and only grow to like each other after spending time together and seeing who the other person really is. I love films that develop relationships over time, instead of having characters fall (unrealistically) in love twelve seconds after they've met. I especially love it when it's done well. In French Kiss, the plot is paced well and the characters grow within that plot, both separately and as an eventual couple.

2) This film contains well-developed characters. A lot of films seem to disregard the fact that the audience is actually supposed to like the characters and identify with them. Kate, Luc, Charlie, Inspector Cardon (Jean Reno), and the others are not only likeable, they have personalities, back-stories, hopes, and fears. They have flaws and they are changed by the challenges that face them because of these flaws.

3) Kevin Kline and Jean Reno are always fun to watch. While Reno's character isn't a huge part of the main plot, his secondary story (trying to find Luc and the necklace) was threaded nicely throughout the film. Kline is insanely funny as a Frenchman and is probably the best reason to watch the movie. I've always admired his work, especially the comedic films he's done (A Fish Called Wanda is my all-time favorite Kline film), and he doesn't disappoint in French Kiss.

4) The script is great, especially considering this is a romantic comedy. Luc's lines are scene-stealers, but even Meg Ryan has some fantastic moments. My favorite exchange between the two of them has to be when they're discussing the man who stole her bag while speeding down a Parisian street in a car that Luc has stolen:
Luc: His name is Bub.
Kate: Bub?
Luc: Bub. Like, uh, Bub Dylan.
Kate: Oh, Bob!
Luc: (mockingly, in an exaggerated fake American accent) Oui, Baaaaaahhhhhhhb.
It's a short, fun bit that really represents their whole relationship. You have the language and culture barrier, the snappy dialogue, the "I-don't-like-you-but-I'm-stuck-with-you" attitude. I won't go so far as to say that it's the funniest movie I've ever seen, but I give props to the writer, Adam Brooks, for the film's wit and authenticity.

I know there are some of you out there who really like rom-coms and/or Meg Ryan. For you, this movie is probably a no-brainer. For those of you who, like me, don't particularly like either of these things, I still highly recommend it. The script, the characters, the acting: all of it is well-done and makes for a great film.



  1. I like this movie, too --- I'm a fan of both Kevin Kline and Jean Reno -- and there are parts of this movie that are so funny. The part where Meg whams into the dessert cart when she's trying to spy on Charlie always makes me scream with laughter. :)

  2. I'm not a romantic comedy fan but I remember a French professor saying that Kevin Kline's accent in this film was spot on and that you wouldn't know he wasn't actually French.

    Have you see Depardieu's Cyrano de Bergerac? I adore this film. It is perfectly cast, brilliantly filmed, flawless from beginning to end. The first time I watched it I had to pause it during the final scene because I was crying so much I couldn't even read the subtitles.

  3. I was tempted to cover this for Paris in July too, since I love this one. Probably one of my favorite Rom-Coms. I can't not think of this film when I think of lactose intolerance

  4. Awww I really like Meg Ryan films, I'm not a huge fan of the current style of romcom but I like the ones from the 90s!

  5. I love me a good romantic comedy and you make a compelling argument to seek this film out. Surprisingly enough,I often see it in the $5 DVD bin at my local grocery store so I'll be picking it up next time.

  6. Jo: My mom's a huge fan of Meg Ryan so I was pretty much forced to sit through all of her movies when I was a kid. This is one that I would choose to watch on my own, even now, and Klein and Reno are a huge part of my reasoning for that.

    Satia: He's so good in this movie that I allow myself to forget that it's a rom-com. I've not seen Cyrano de Bergerac, but I've heard really good things about it. I need to start watching more French films, I think.

    Sarah: The whole train sequence is fantastic, as is the rest of the movie. :)

    Ellie: Most of the "chick flicks" that I actually like to watch are from the 90s. French Kiss, Sabrina (the original is great, too), While You Were Sleeping. I agree that today's "romantic" films don't stand up to the ones made in the 90s.

    Jason: I haven't been able to find a copy of this movie, so I'm jealous that you have. It's such a good film. I hope you enjoy it. :)