This Week: A Kiss in the Rain
Perhaps the most common romance cliché in movies, the kiss in the rain is still a great way to show passion between two characters, from its origins in films like Singing in the Rain to melodramas like The Notebook, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Here are two moments when a kiss in the rain had us feeling romantic.
Garden State (2004)
Film Summary: A lithium-dependent, aspiring actor comes back to his hometown for his mother’s funeral after having been gone for years. Having drifted through life thus far because of how heavily medicated he is, he decides to take a break from his prescriptions and experience life.
The Moment: After having spent three days in his hometown and being prescription drug free, Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), goes to a quarry with his high school friend, Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), and his new friend and romantic interest, Sam (Natalie Portman). Mark leads them to a houseboat where he meets with a couple that sell antique jewelry. Unbeknownst to Andrew, Mark has brought them there so he can buy back Andrew’s recently departed mother’s necklace so Andrew can keep it as a memento of her. When they leave the houseboat, Andrew climbs onto a nearby backhoe and yells into the quarry. Sam and Mark climb up after him and all three yell into the quarry together. Exhilarated, Andrew looks at Sam and pulls her in for their first kiss.
Why it Matters: This moment shows Andrew letting go of who he has become and starting his life as who he really is. He’s hasn’t expressed any true feelings in years and this is his chance to finally be himself and express his feelings. It’s an incredibly cathartic moment for Andrew and is so relatable for audience members who have grown up in our current, over-medicated society. The rain is a perfect representation for Andrew washing away his old life. Andrew mentions in the film that he hasn’t felt anything in years, and regardless of whether or not the feelings are positive, he just wants to feel them. Andrew’s mother was paralyzed when Andrew was nine when he pushed her and she hit her head on the kitchen counter, breaking her neck. Right before this movie takes place, she dies from drowning in her bathtub. Andrew’s psychiatrist father made the unilateral decision to put him on medication to deal with the trauma, so that’s been his life since he was nine. As such, for Andrew, this moment on the backhoe is the fundamental first step in his new way of life. It’s also such a sweet moment between Andrew and Sam. They’ve only known each other for three days but they have so much chemistry. Andrew is mesmerized by Sam’s unique perspectives and quirky personality. They both know how the other one feels but they haven’t acted on it up until this point. We’ve been rooting for them for so long and we’re so thrilled to see them kiss. This is definitely a “Romance in the Rain” moment for the books.
David’s Take: The best part of this moment is the hug that follows. Compositionally this entire scene is really something special. After the three climb atop the vehicle, the camera “follows” their screams into the quarry, pulling away from the three and sinking far into the abyss so that they appear like mere dots on the horizon. Then it swings back in and slows to a lovely crawl, tightening in on the first kiss. It’s a stunning sequence. But thematically, it works so well as Andrew feels empowered by the moment and without words, let’s Sam know what she already suspects. My favorite part of the film.
Director: Zach Braff
Writer: Zach Braff
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Film Summary: Holly Golightly (Hepburn), a paid escort and flirtatious socialite lives alone in a mostly empty apartment with a cat she hasn’t even named. Her day-to-day attitude is care-free and flippant until she meets writer Paul Varjak (Peppard) when he moves into the building and suffers writer’s block. The two develop a sweet romance but things get complicated when her past catches up to her.
The Moment: Turns out Holly is actually married to a Texan named Doc (Buddy Ebsen) and has been since she was only 14, though she claims the marriage was annulled. The bigger issue is that she has a brother in the military who she is trying to save money for when he gets out, which is her priority throughout. She loves Paul but he’s not wealthy and so she schemes to be with others, which angers him and when her hopes for escaping to Brazil with a rich entrepreneur are broken, her brother dead, and she losing control of it all, she finds herself in a cab with her cat and Paul. She is packing it all in, planning to run away to Brazil in desperation anyway, and coldly decides to cut all ties. She has the cabbie stop the car and tosses the cat out. When Paul realizes her plan, he gets out himself, but not before giving her an engraved ring from Tiffany’s and telling her of his love for her even though he is tired of her behavior and the cycle of trouble she keeps herself in. He slams the door and walks away. A moment later, she of course rushes after him and in a downpour, catches him, finds the cat, and with Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” chiming in, the two embrace and kiss as the film fades to black.
Why it Matters: Our lives can be soaked in troubles, conflicts, uncomfortableness and misery and the rain represents this when lovers kiss in film, their commitment to each other in the face of these problems unwavering. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the rain ends the film and washes away everything that held Holly back, the indecisions, guilt, fear and more. Throughout the movie, she has been elegant in public, a vision of style and beauty, and yet here, when it matters most, she is decidedly washed clean of the façade, uncaring about how she appears, wishing only to have the two most important things back in her life, Cat and Paul. Yes, the film is light-hearted and swings from screwball to drama, but there is so much charm in Audrey Hepburn’s performance, it’s hard not to get swept up in the feisty girl’s life, recognizing her altruistic ambitions and the effort to mask the disappointments that surround her. That’s why it’s poignant when Paul confesses his love, but also shines a light on a pattern in her life he can’t accept, one only she can break to be free. We all love that moment when a character recognizes this in themselves and sees what must be done to find happiness. The kiss between Paul and Holly may be an obvious conclusion to an unapologetic romantic piece of fluff in a fantasy world that can’t possible be true, but that fluff taste so sweet and reminds us that, at heart, we all need a little romance and the hope that dreams come true.
Melissa’s Take: This is such an iconic moment in movie history. David explains its importance so well here. The audience completely falls in love with Holly Golightly, and we want nothing but happiness for her. She has so many faults and has so many things going on in her life but you can’t help but be captivated by her. Audrey Hepburn was truly one of a kind and she turned this role into something so memorable that generation after generation of movie lovers would instantly recognize it. The ending is so sweet and it really is a dream come true for Holly. She doesn’t think she deserves to be happy but this moment shows her finally allowing herself to do what she wants for herself instead of doing everything for everyone else.
Director: Blake Edwards
Melissa is a contributing writer to TMI. Visit her Homepage for Movie Reviews and More.