on March 16, 2000
There is no other movie in my collection that gets watched as often as this one. The story line is quite simple but the acting by the entire cast makes every line and every situation seem fresh and funny, even after scores of viewings.
I am not generally a Meg Ryan fan but this movie shows her broad range of abilities, from physical comedy (the run in with the dessert cart, or suffering from the ill effects of lactose intolerance) to subtle poignancy (watch her facial expressions change in the very last scene on the airplane). Smaller roles are exquisitely played, from the always incomparable Jean Reno as a French policeman to the fine character actor who plays the concierge at the Hotel George V in Paris - an absolute gem of a performance in every respect and a one person commentary on the entire French persona.
The French countryside is beautifully photographed, especially the wine country that is so central to the plot, and there are lovely glimpses of Paris as well.
But for me the performance by Kevin Kline tops everything. His character is both incredibly complex and laugh out loud funny in this movie, and also wonderfully sensual. From one scene to the next we understand more and more what he thinks and feels.
Bet you can't watch it just once! Bet you'll start quoting sections of dialogue at the drop of a hat! Bet you buy the first rate soundtrack (includes Kevin Kline singing in French).
Sometimes a romantic comedy comes along that pulls at so many strings and is appealing on so many levels that you have to watch it at least once or twice a year...this movie happens to be one of those special treats.
Paris becomes her own character in this beautiful comedy filled with the romance of a great city all under the watch of the sparkling Eiffel. This movie is directed by Lawrence Kasdan and he works the film around beautiful scenic French views leaving viewer's that love Paris breathless and begging for more. The storyline is humorous and the actors perfectly cast in roles that they seem natural at playing. The film is effortless to watch and that must be why it draws me in year after year.
Meg Ryan plays a woman engaged to Timothy Hutton in a boring and predictable little relationship. Things change drastically when Hutton goes to Paris on business and leaves Ryan at home because she is afraid to fly. But there is nothing like an old jealous heart to overcome such a silly phobia and Ryan finds herself on a plane to Paris to save her man from the arms of a beautiful young Parisian. Aboard the plane she meets Kevin Kline, who represents all things stereotypically French! Ryan is always perfect as the girl next door who stumbles about trying to stay in love. She is cute and perky as usual. Hutton is staid and serious until he is seduced by a vibrant and passionate French woman and begins his mid-life crisis falling for the belief that this seductress wants him and not his salary. Kline is convincingly French, with his wild haired and open minded talk, his always present dismissing pout and his passion for life. The fun begins as the plane lands in Paris and it never ends.
If you love France this film will romance you many times over. The cast is great together and the romantic comedy great for the heart. From the most romantic city in the world Kasdan gives us a new reason to dance and a desire to kiss as the French do!
on February 28, 2005
I have loved this movie for some time, and just saw it again. It's entertaining, sweet, and plain old fun.
It maybe isn't the most realistic, but for romantic escapism, it's tops. Kevin Klein is great here, as usual, and believable as a Frenchman thief who finds his heart stolen by a whimsical, befuddled woman (Meg Ryan).
I'm not a big Meg Ryan fan, but she's wonderful in this piece, and makes a remarkable transformation on screen from horrified, squeaky girl to remarkable and capable woman. Klein undergoes a similar softening transformation. It's a subtle and gradual change for both, and the effectiveness and tightness of the screenplay and dialog contribute to a wonderfully-entertaining overall product that I can watch over and over again.
The pacing is great and the supporting characters (particularly the concierge at the hotel) are wonderful and help contribute to the fun.
I had a copy, but a friend "borrowed" it indefinitely. Now that's a sincere endorsement.
on September 5, 2002
Romantic comedies need that perfect couple. Once you've got Meg Ryan, you're more than halfway there. Kevin Kline steps up to the plate here, with enchanting results.
Kline's stereotypical Frenchman (Luc) is as convincing (that accent!) as he is funny. His uber-casual, morally lax attitude is well complemented by Ryan's uptight, loquacious American/wannabe-Canadian (Kate). The movie rolls along at a merry pace - from Canada to Paris to Nice and Provence, all with distinctive, eclectic music. The locations are beautiful and serve nicely as foils for the wacky partnership of Luc and Kate, as do the songs (in French and English). Check out the end credits when Kevin Kline sings "La Mer."
The chemistry between Luc and Kate works like it does in screwball comedies - a lot of bickering sexual tension - but somehow the best and most revealing scenes are the ones where there is no dialogue (Luc and his vine, lost in Paris, train to Nice, Luc's family, dancing). The script is a little lacking, but Ryan and Kline are charming during these quiet moments.
As you can imagine, with all this dualism of French and English, there is a lot of national humor - but I think the best summary of the movie is when Kate, who has lost everything (money, love, passport), wisely realizes, "I am without country." Of course, she means this literally, but that wistfulness conveys more. The differences between nationalities become irrelevant when it's really about fulfillment and dreams, which aren't bound by country lines.
on April 8, 2000
9/2002 - This is the only movie I've bought that I've had to replace due to wear and tear. I was curious to see what other people thought of my "favorite" movie and heartened to see that I'm not the only French Kiss addict in the world! I was appalled at the hollywood reviews of this fine, romantic comedy. From the opening scene where Meg Ryan is in a fear of flying desensitization training course to its very happy ending, this movie entertains enormously both with its incredibly romantic storyline and the hilarious bantering between Kate and Luc. I admit that I can do "lines" from this movie. Both Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan are in top form. I think that they sizzle together as a romantic couple! Am I the only one who wants to see them reunited in another movie (ala Tom Hanks?)? ~ Kate Fredericks
UPDATE: 9/3/2013 - Here it is, 11 years later and French Kiss is STILL my favorite movie. I admit to buying more and more movies and keeping them in the cloud because it is so much more handy to simple use a controller to find it and play it. However, that is not an option today so I bought the Blu Ray version last week as I can't find my older disc! Still love this fun, happy little romantic gem, still watch it after all these years. I think they broke the mold when they made this movie! Nothing has yet come close to it in humor, great chemistry between the two leads, breathtaking scenery, and simple and delightful fun. This movie never takes itself too seriously and therefore we have, perhaps, the most wonderfully made romantic comedy of all time. Too bad Meg Ryan's personal struggle with self worth did not allow her to see the most excellent work she did, with Kevin Kline, worthy enough to put it in the category with "It Happened One Night," with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, the only other romantic comedy that has become a classic. One CAN do a lovely romantic comedy and be very proud of the excellent work they did in it. This movie will forever be the movie to compare all other movies of this genre. One perfect romance, one perfect movie. If you STILL haven't seen it, I suggest you read all the other reviews in here and then prepare yourself for the movie that will forever have you comparing them to this one and realizing there is no comparison. French Kiss is, yes, just that good! ~ Kate Fredericks
UPDATE 9/25/2014: I guess I still haven't grown old, I have now dubbed French Kiss my all time favorite movie. And found myself doing dialogue with my equally smitten sister the other day from a movie made nearly two decades ago. How does a simple movie, panned by critics worldwide, hated by the elite in society continue to rule my heart as the apex of romance movies? All I can say is there has never been so much sizzle with so little overt sex on the screen except in French Kiss. This is the movie that rules the notion of true romance. Kevin Kline made a number of romance movies about the time he made French Kiss (Dave), but I don't think there has ever been a movie made with two actors who just click, and define what true romance is. I know these two never got together in real life, but the screen just lit them both up to make them the epitome of shooting stars and, well, love. Meg Ryan as Kate has all of the personality factors lacking in Kevin Kline as Luc. And Luc has all the best personality traits missing in Kate. As they say, the most successful relationships are not those who have everything in common, but who complement each other and make each other better people. In my mind, Luc and Kate have a brood of children and a very successful winery today! It's my fantasy and my ending. I suspect French Kiss will be around long after I am gone, as long as HBO and SHOWTIME keep putting them out there now and again. This was one of those rare movies where everything was simply done right. Right story, right actors, right director, right editing, right amount of humor, right music, right ending. One of the premium channels showcased French Kiss this past summer, and I must have watched it five or six times. Some things just never get old! ~ Kate Fredericks
on October 24, 2002
This movie has all the elements of a great romantic comedy, especially Meg Ryan. Meg rarely fails in this genre (or at all really). Meg is her usually plucky, witty, absolutely adorable self in this tale of a woman wronged by her fiance because she is too predictable and stuck in her ways. The solution? Be unpredictable and unconventional of course! And there lies the humor and fun of the movie. This journey of self-realization through reckless abandon takes her to Paris where she runs into a French criminal played by Kevin Kline. Take note I said Kevin Kline because you WON'T recognize him in the movie. If you've seen Kline in other roles like In & Out or Dave or any number of others, you will be shocked to see him play a very sexy Frenchman here. He does a fantastic job of it too. You get attached to Meg's character quickly and you can't help but to love Kline even though he plays a criminal ... which the writers want you to do. This is quite a charming tale of good girl/bad boy romance amidst some great situational humor. Add some beautiful scenery and what more could you ask for?
Meg Ryan's character is afraid to fly, so she can't join her Canadian fiancee (played by Timothy Hutton) in Paris for a convention. But when he telephones to say he has met a "goddess" and is reconsidering their relationship, she forces herself onto the plane, where she meets the oh-so-gallic Luc (Kevin Kline). She doesn't know it yet, but she and Luc have some unfinished business.
"French Kiss" is a perfect title for this Continental tease of a comedy that combines elements of romance, screwball comedy, and a touch of international intrigue. Ryan and Kline seemed perfectly cast even if he is a good deal older than she. It isn't a magnificent movie, but it's quite a good one and much better than the critics would have us believe. A welcome souffle for any fans of Ryan, Kline, or for romantics anywhere.
on June 6, 2000
Despite the badmouthing this film receives from various "professional" critics, one would do well to ask a Meg Ryan or a Kevin Kline fan what THEY thought of the movie. As a fan of both actors, let me say this is one of my favorite films (as in I've watched it over 20 times). I liked the comedy, the development of characters, the story, Meg's facial expressions, Kevin's French accent... You name it, I thought it all added up to an enjoyable movie!
on October 12, 2002
We've seen it before (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle) and since (You Have Mail), but Meg Ryan is indisputably The Right One for this cutesy-yet-not-too-slushy romantic comedy lark.
Aviophobic bride-to-be Kate (Ryan) is enthusiastically preparing for the lavish wedding when her fiancé flies off to Paris on a medical conference ... only to 'phone-in a few days later with the startling announcement that Kate should cease wedding arrangements forthwith as ... he has fallen in love with a Frenchwoman. Disbelievingly, Kate faces her mortal fear of flying to get to Paris and shake him out of his infatuation. On the aeroplane she sits next to petty thief Luc Teyssier (Kevin Kline - Gérard Dépardieu declined the rôle). Exchanging stereotypical national dislikes, it is hate at first sight.
Or is it ...? Ryan is ever-cuddly and ever-so-slightly-ditzy, whilst Kline is perfectly-accented and stubbled, oozing a pretty darn convincing Gallic charm. Kate's rebuttals by the Georges Cinq's stoic Concièrge - she puts down 100 Francs as a bribe; he simply takes it - are a treat. And so is her animated air-fighting following the theft of her luggage - "Oh man ... ma stuff, man ..." Almost as a fil rouge, Kate's wanderings through the City of Light include constantly not seeing the Eiffel Tower ... until she is on a train leaving Paris. Kate's earlier opinion of loser Luc turns via promiscuous rascal to grudging respect upon discovering that he is, in fact, a Man With A Plan, from a background in fine wine; that moment is quite poignant ... Hovering in the background is avuncular detective-sergeant Jean (Léon) Réno who is aware of Luc's family history as well as his current jewellery-smuggling, but who owes Luc a never-fully-explained life debt. It is he who actually rescues the mis-matched couple ...
Anybody who says "They don't make 'em like they used to ..." should swallow those ill-chosen words as the 1990s have produced endearing romantic comedies to counter the numerous over-the-top petroleum-jelly & mayhem Action Blockbusters. French Kiss may be a trifle formulaic, but its superbly-nostalgic soundtrack - Charles Trenet's rendition of Verlaine's 'Blesse Mon Coeur' is wonderfully evocative of an autumn stroll in Paris - and the fine interaction between Ryan and Kline help make this one of the more memorable and heartwarming feel-good films of the decade.
on March 3, 2006
I'm writing this review for people who want to know how they could possibly get this fantastic movie for such a cheap price. First, let me say that I love this movie. I have owned it on VHS for years and have finally replaced it on DVD.
There aren't any special features on this disc other than a theatrical trailer. That's fine with me - I wasn't expecting much for $5.99. However, the picture quality is a little grainy in comparison to today's DVD releases - I suppose because the movie is 11 years old and they just slapped it on a DVD without any kind of remastering of the picture quality. Again, not really a problem for me because I like the movie so much.
My main concern was with the subtitles. There are several conversations in the film that take place in French. The English subtitles on this DVD are piece-meal at best. By that I mean it will display the first half of a sentence but not the second half. If I had not seen this movie many times already and knew what was being said, I would have missed half the conversations, sometimes containing important-to-the-plot information.
Maybe there is a way you can set your TV to have English subtitles up all the time and it will overlap the poor quality ones on here. Or maybe it is a technical problem with my DVD - who knows! I just thought people should know what they're getting when they buy this version of the film.
For the record - I still love this movie! Ryan & Kline are fantastic!