Kissing scenes in movies bring back the days of romance and old Hollywood.
There is something undeniably memorable about the passion, or the anticipated passion, a great screen kiss evokes that stays with us and comes back to us in the times we least expect it.
Sometimes late at night when I cannot sleep I will flip through the television channels and will, almost without realizing it, search for a great movie kiss. The favorite kissing scenes of some people involve the “accidental kiss,” a kiss that is not meant to happen, but still occurs almost on its own. Many consider one of the best accidental movie kisses ever to be in the spaghetti scene of the Disney classic Lady and the Tramp. Tramp takes Lady for a night on the town and they end up having dinner in an alley behind an Italian restaurant. The restaurant owner and his cook serve the motley pair by candlelight and serenade them with romantic accordion music. Lady and Tramp keep their eyes on the performers while they eat, and soon find themselves slurping the same piece of spaghetti from their shared plate. The kiss happens before either one of them even realizes it. By the time Lady shies away and Tramp grins, we realize that our hearts have already melted, stolen away in an instant by a legendary kissing scene.
I personally consider the best kissing scenes in movies to show the “unexpected kiss” that literally takes your breath away. In the modern classic Lost in Translation with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray’s character Bob Harris, a famous American actor in Japan doing television commercials, meets Scarlett Johansson’s character Charlotte while wandering a business hotel late at night over the course of a week. Both have insomnia from the time zone differences between Japan and the United States. Even though both are married they strike up a Platonic friendship and end up spending a large amount of time together watching Japanese television and exploring the otherworldliness of Tokyo nightlife. The romantic tension between them builds throughout the film. Although a romance under these circumstances would be forbidden fruit, the attraction between the two is palpable nonetheless.
Near the end of the film things finally go badly between the characters and Bob departs for home, figuring to leave well enough alone. On the way to the airport, however, fate intervenes and Bob thinks he sees Charlotte in a crowd. Bob gets out of the cab, runs up and sees that it is in fact Charlotte walking on the busy Tokyo street. In silence, for we are too far away to hear, they look each other in the eyes and hug, suddenly completely alone among the hordes of passing people. Then before we know it they break through that unseen barrier and kiss – deeply, passionately, completely unexpectedly, and all too briefly. Bob whispers something in Charlotte’s ear and is then gone. Our hearts stop and we literally are left breathless. We hear nothing of the exchange, but we see all. Will they ever see each other again? We are left wondering about this question years later, and perhaps this unexpected uncertainty is what makes a truly memorable kissing scene.
Sometimes memories find us when we least expect them, yet need them the most. The best kissing scenes in movies have the power to bring back those memories, especially late at night with the television on when we may have a bit of insomnia ourselves.