French Kiss (1995 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lawrence Kasdan|
|Written by||Adam Brooks|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Joe Hutshing|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
French Kiss is a 1995 American romantic comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Written by Adam Brooks, the film is about a woman who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé and gets into trouble when the charming crook seated next to her uses her to smuggle a stolen diamond necklace. French Kiss was filmed on location in Paris and Cannes, France.
Kate (Ryan) is a fastidious and wholesome history teacher living in Canada with her fiancé, Charlie (Hutton), a doctor. While waiting for her Canadian citizenship to come through, Kate has been busy planning their wedding and the purchase of their first house, complete with a white picket fence. He urges her to accompany him to Paris for an upcoming business trip, but she declines due to her fear of flying and her general intolerance for cheese, secondhand smoke, and the French.
A few days later Kate's plans for the future are crushed when Charlie, in a drunken phone call to her, informs her that he has fallen in love with a beautiful French "goddess" named Juliette (Anbeh) and that he will not be returning. Determined to win him back, Kate boards a flight to Paris, despite her fear of flying, and is seated next to a crude Frenchman, Luc Teyssier (Kline), whose every word during the seven-hour flight seems to annoy her. He is a thief who is smuggling a vine cutting and an expensive stolen diamond necklace into Paris hoping to use both to start his own vineyard. Despite the uncomfortable and sarcastic banter throughout the flight, Kate, with the help of a few drinks, is able to tolerate her "rude" and "hygiene deficient" seating partner long enough to arrive safely in Paris. Before deboarding, however, Luc sneaks the vine and necklace into Kate's bag, knowing she will not be searched at customs, and then offers her a ride into the city.
In the terminal, Luc is spotted by Inspector Jean-Paul Cardon (Reno) who insists on giving him a ride during which he searches his bag. Jean-Paul well knows of Luc's vocation, but feels "protective" of him, as he once saved his life. Meanwhile, Kate makes it on her own to the Hôtel George V where she encounters new levels of French sarcasm and rudeness from the concierge. While waiting in the lobby to confront Charlie, she meets a petty thief named Bob (Cluzet). When she finally sees Charlie and Juliette kissing in a descending elevator, Kate faints, and in the commotion Bob steals her bag. Luc arrives and greets exiting Bob, an acquaintance, as he enters. He finds Kate and revives her, then realizes what Bob has done, so he steals a car, and together he and Kate track down Bob and the missing bag.
Upset at having lost all her money and her passport (which Bob has already sold), Kate argues with Luc and they go their separate ways. Kate learns from Charlie's family back home that he and Juliette are headed south to Cannes to meet her parents before their wedding. Meanwhile, after realizing the necklace is still in Kate's bag, Luc tracks her down, offers to help her "win back Charlie", and together they board a train to Cannes. At the same time, Bob has disclosed to Jean-Paul that Luc has the necklace. Along the way, Luc attempts to search her bag but is unsuccessful. After lactose intolerant Kate samples some of the 452 official government cheeses of France, she becomes sick and they get off the train at Luc's hometown of La Ravelle in Paulhaguet. They stay at his family home, surrounded by a beautiful vineyard where Kate learns about his past and how he gambled away his vineyard birthright to his brother in a single hand of poker. In her momentary absence, he finally searches Kate's bag, but comes up empty, and he is depressed. She has realized he is a schemer, but also learns that he knows a lot about wine, and has dreams of buying land for his own winery. They grow closer and he volunteers to coach her on how to get Charlie back. As they leave his town Kate discloses to him that she, in fact, has the necklace and will return it to him.
At Cannes, the two stay (platonically) in one room at the Carlton Hotel, using a stolen credit card proffered by Luc, and they grow even closer. Kate finally confronts Charlie in front of Juliette on the beach, but her attitude about the situation has changed somewhat. To make Charlie jealous, Luc pretends to be Kate's lover, and the deception works.
Jean-Paul approaches Kate and urges her to convince Luc to return the necklace anonymously to avoid jail. Luc, who is planning to sell the necklace at Cartier, agrees to Kate's "new plan" to have her sell the necklace, as that would be the safer thing to do.
At dinner, Charlie apologizes to Kate and later tries to seduce her in her room, but she rejects his advances, realizing she no longer wants him, as she is now in love with Luc. Meanwhile, in an effort to "ensure victory" for her, Luc starts to romance an all-too-willing Juliette, but she walks out after he calls her "Kate" by mistake while they're in bed.
The following morning, Kate tells Luc that Charlie wants her back, but quickly leaves the room, saying, "Cartier is waiting". She returns the necklace to Jean-Paul and purchases a Cartier check for $45,782 with her own savings to create the illusion that she sold it. After giving the check to Luc, she leaves for the airport pretending to meet Charlie. Just after, Jean-Paul approaches Luc and reveals the charade and all that Kate has done for him, as Charlie and Juliette reconnect in view of the both of them. Luc rushes to the airport, boards the plane, and confesses that he's in love with her and wants her to stay with him. Sometime later, he and Kate embrace each other in their beautiful new vineyard.
The lead role of Luc was originally written for Gérard Depardieu, but Kevin Kline accepted the role when Depardieu was not available for the film.
- American Embassy, 2 Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8, Paris, France (exterior)
- Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris 8, Paris, France (where Kate phones her once future mother-in-law)
- Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Paris 18, Paris, France
- Canadian Embassy, 35 Avenue Montaigne, Paris 8, Paris, France (embassy)
- Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes, France
- Chateau Val Joanis, Pertuis, Vaucluse, France (grape harvest scenes)
- Grande Pharmacie de la Place Blanche, 5 Place Blanche, Paris 9, Paris, France
- Hôtel George V Quatre Saisons, 31 Avenue George V, Paris, France (Charlie's hotel, where Kate loses her bag)
- La Tour d'Aigues, Vaucluse, France
- Meyrargues, Bouches-du-Rhône, France (station scenes)
- Musée du Louvre, Paris 1, Paris, France (driving scenes)
- Palais de Chaillot, Paris 16, Paris, France (where Kate says "screnched?")
- Paris Studios Cinéma, Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France (studio)
- Paris, France
- Place des Abbesses, Paris 18, Paris, France (where Kate and Luc discuss his "little problem")
- Rue Feutrier & rue Paul Albert, Paris 18, Paris, France (street scenes)
- Rue des Rosiers, Paris 4, Paris, France (where Luc drives down a narrow, winding cobblestoned street)
- Tour Eiffel, Champ de Mars, Paris 7, Paris, France (establishing shots)
- Valbonne, Alpes-Maritimes, France
Charlie and Juliette stay at the famous Hotel George V in Paris, where Kate has her encounters with the supercilious concierge. The hotel lobby was used for the scene where Kate was robbed by Bob the pickpocket. Other scenes around Paris include numerous shots of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Pyramid, and a phonebooth near the Arc de Triomphe where Kate calls her now former mother-in-law. A number of street scenes were shot on the Rive Droite. The corner in Montmartre where rue Paul Albert and rue Feutrier meet was used for the scene where Luc throws money on the sidewalk. Scenes were also filmed at the American Embassy and the Canadian Embassy. The final scene shot in Paris was at the Gare Saint-Lazare train station where Luc is chased by police inspector Jean-Paul Cardon (Jean Reno) while trying to board a train south to Cannes. This is a minor mistake because the train to Cannes does not leave from this station but rather from Gare de Lyon.
The small French village of Valbonne, about 15 minutes north of Cannes, was used for the scene where Luc fights with his brother in the main village square in front of the Hotel les Armoiries, an old seventeenth century building. There are also other scenes of the town in the film. Other scenes were filmed at the train station and the nearby vineyards around the small hamlet of La Ravelle, which is part of the town of Paulhaguet in the Haute-Loire département in the Auvergne région of south central France.
In Cannes several exterior shots of the Carlton Hotel were used to represent where the four main characters were staying. There are interior scenes of the lobby and the brasserie used for morning breakfasts. Other scenes filmed here include the beach in front of the hotel along with the adjacent waterfront—in particular the Cartier boutique on the next corner.
- "Someone Like You" by Van Morrison (4:06)
- "La Vie en Rose" by Louis Armstrong (3:22)
- "Les Yeux Ouverts" by The Beautiful South (3:33)
- "Via Con Me" by Paolo Conte (2:36)
- "I Love Paris" by Toots Thielemans (1:38)
- "Feels Like a Woman" by Zucchero (5:12)
- "I Love Paris" by Ella Fitzgerald (4:57)
- "Verlaine" by Charles Trénet (3:10)
- "C'est Trop Beau" by Tino Rossi (2:31)
- "La Mer" by Kevin Kline (3:44)
- "I Want You" (Love Theme from French Kiss) (2:04)
- "Les Yeux de Ton Père" by Negresses Vertes (3:57)
In the film, items 2, 10, and 1 are played in that order over the end scene and closing credits.
French Kiss received mixed reviews upon its release. In his review in the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle wrote that director Lawrence Kasdan "takes what could have been a fluffy comedy with lots of plot complications and picturesque scenery and instead puts his focus on the important things: on the characters played by Ryan and Kline and how they happen to be feeling." LaSalle also applauded Kasdan's sense of subtle comedy:
With his attention in the right place, Kasdan comes up with ways of using the setting to make emotional points. For example, though the film doesn't go out of its way to make you notice, Ryan keeps missing out on getting to see the Eiffel Tower. It's behind her as she's riding in a car, or she's turning toward it a second after they've turned out the lights. She doesn't know what she's missing—until eventually she does.
LaSalle found Kline's performance "extraordinary" and that he not only perfected the accent but the "speech rhythms and the manner as well." LaSalle also praised Ryan's comic timing, which "continues to delight."
In her review in The Washington Post, Rita Kempley, giving it a mixed review, wrote that the film "isn't as passionate as the title suggests—in fact, it's facile—but Ryan and Kevin Kline, as her attractive opposite, are irresistible together." Kempley applauded the acting performances:
Kline's hilariously hammy l'accent puts Inspector Clouseau's to shame; his performance is the zaniest since A Fish Called Wanda. Ryan's Kate is even pickier than the heroine in When Harry Met Sally... and melts just as endearingly. She and Kline spar convincingly; Doris Day and Rock Hudson had sexier scenes, but none this romantic.
In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, a disappointed Roger Ebert wrote, "The characters in this movie may look like adults, but they think like teenagers." Although he acknowledged that the film was not without its charms—Paris and Cannes being "two of the most photogenic cities on earth"—Ebert wrote, "Kline's Frenchman is somehow not worldly enough, and Ryan's heroine never convinces us she ever loved her fiance in the first place."
In her review in The New York Times, Janet Maslin called the film a "romantic comedy with barely a laugh or a spark, and with a pace that makes it feel longer than Mr. Kasdan's previous work, Wyatt Earp."
The film earned $38,896,854 in the United States and an additional $63,086,000 in international markets for a total worldwide gross of $101,982,854.
Awards and nominations
- 1996 American Comedy Award Nomination for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Kevin Kline)
- 1996 American Comedy Award Nomination for Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture (Meg Ryan)
French Kiss inspired three remakes: the Indian film Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998) starring Kajol and her husband Ajay Devgan, which presented a slightly different ending, the Malayalam film Vettam (2004) by Priyadarsan, and the Bengali film Mon Mane Na by Sujit Guha. A Telugu film Dongata directed by Kodi Rama Krishna and starring Jagapathi babu and Soundarya was also inspired by French Kiss.
Ryan and Hutton paired up again 14 years later in the film Serious Moonlight (2009), wherein he similarly portrayed a cheating husband and she the wronged wife, battling to get him back.
- "French Kiss (1995)". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- "French Kiss Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- LaSalle, Mick (May 5, 1995). "'French Kiss' Makes You Cheer 'Vive L'Amour!': Ryan, Kline a perfect Paris match". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Kempley, Rita (May 5, 1995). "French Kiss". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (May 5, 1995). "French Kiss". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "French Kiss". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "French Kiss". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- French Kiss at the Internet Movie Database
- French Kiss at Box Office Mojo
- French Kiss at Rotten Tomatoes