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Film / French Kiss

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"Why weren't you the one, Charlie? The one who turned on the big shiny Kate-light that shines so bright?"

A 1995 romantic comedy film directed by Lawrence Kasdan, starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline.

Kate (Ryan) and Charlie (Timothy Hutton) have a perfect life planned out before them: buying a house, marriage, kids, the whole works. Kate's fear of flying keeps her in Canada while Charlie goes to Paris for a medical convention. While there Charlie is smitten by the lovely Juliette (Suzan Anbeh). He calls off the wedding with Kate and she nervously boards a plane to get him back. She ends up sitting next to the petty French thief Luc Teyssier (Kline). He hides a stolen necklace and smuggled grape vine in her bag to get it through customs. Her bag is stolen, the necklace apparently lost, and Kate and Luc head to Cannes — Luc to find the necklace and Kate to get Charlie back. Along the way, Kate and Luc begin having feelings for each other — which change the course of their lives.


Contains examples of:

  • Babies Ever After: Ends with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan romping in the vineyard with their child, who is a son.
  • Beautiful All Along: "Now who is the goddess?"
  • Becoming the Mask: Luc and Kate make a plan that she will approach Charlie and Juliette as a whole different person, someone confident and savvy and having moved on from Charlie. When she does, she plays her part down to a T. She then shares some personal wisdom from her journey note , reflecting that she truly has developed as a character.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The theatrical and original cable presentations of the film had English subtitles for the French dialog. DVD releases omitted them.
  • Book-Ends: The film begins and (basically) ends with Kate sitting in an airplane seat visualizing a pastoral scene to calm her fear of flying.
    • More specifically, it begins with Kate visualizing a stone cottage to keep herself calm. In the end, that stone cottage not only becomes a reality, it also becomes her home, hers and Luc's and their family's.
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  • Brutal Honesty: Luc isn't terribly impressed with Kate insisting she and Charlie were inseparable.
    Kate: We had plans, OK? We had plans for a home and a family. I would remind him of that.
    Luc: He was obviously very attached to them.
  • Call-Back:
    Luc: When people say they are happy, it makes my ass twitch.
    Kate: (growling like an elderly Luc) My ass is twitching. You people make my ass twitch.
  • Canada, Eh?: Kate is trying to become a Canadian citizen to move in with Charlie. The Canadian Embassy rep is a stereotypical Canadian.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': The one time Kate was ever arrested was for smoking pot — and she hated it. Unfortunately, not reporting this arrest to the Canadian Immigration gets her request for asylum at the embassy in France denied.
  • Cool Old Guy: Jean-Paul, played by Jean Reno.
  • Culture Clash: North America versus France.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Antoine confronts Luc, the latter just humors him til the former connects with a punch. Luc then downs him with a single punch.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Averted until halfway through the movie: Kate repeatedly fails to get a view of the tower while in Paris, missing it by mere seconds at one point, until she finally glimpses it from the train as she leaves the city.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Charlie's sister may be rude to Kate for the most part, but when she listens in on Kate's phone call with Charlie, she doesn't seem to like the direction the conversation is going: that her brother is essentially breaking off his engagement with Kate to be with another woman.
  • Face Your Fears: Kate is deathly afraid of flying (though it seems more like she's scared of the takeoff than the actual flight), but Luc manages to distract her long enough til they're in the air.
  • Gilligan Cut: Luc tells Kate his family hates him and he would be unwelcome. Cue Luc's dad appearing, happy to see Luc back, and the next scene is Luc and Kate eating at the Teyssier dinner table, with dozens of family members fawning over the two.
  • Hastily Hidden MacGuffin: The thief hide his stolen necklace and contraband grape vineling in the girl's luggage, and he then has to pursue her until he recovers them.
  • Hidden Depths: Juliette. Her scene with Luc reveals that she has emotions and fears. Her argument with Charlie before their makeup kiss hint that she and Charlie really are meant for each other.
  • I Owe You My Life: Jean-Paul says he owes Luc a debt greater than money because he saved his life.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Charlie's sister may be brutally honest about it, but she makes a point that it's not wise of Kate to build a life around avoiding risks.
  • Just Friends: Luc's sister says she approves of Luc's "new girlfriend" Kate. He insists they're just friends, to which his sister challenges, "When have you ever had a woman who's just a friend?" He retorts, "Since her."
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Luc. Even when he was 12, he stole 50 francs from his brother so he could make out with a prostitute.
  • Lady in Red: The first shot of Juliette, and she is a goddess in it.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Luc's embarrassing secret.
  • Love Epiphany: Luc has one when he realizes he says Kate's name while having sex with Juliette. Jean-Paul realizes that Kate is in love with Luc when she gives her entire life's savings to save Luc from going to jail (and to allow him to start his winery), with no intent on telling Luc what she did for him.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Luc believes this.
    (Charlie and Juliette make up and kiss)
    Jean-Paul: Ah, l'amour. C'est merveilleux. (Ah, love. It's wonderful.)
    Luc: (dismissive) C'est ne pas l'amour. (That's not love.)
  • MacGuffin: The diamond necklace drives the plot, and keeps Luc around Kate long enough for them to fall for each other.
  • Maurice Chevalier Accent: All the French characters speak this way. Luc in particular is practically doing a Maurice Chevalier impression.
  • Nice Girl: Kate. Even when faced with French Jerks, she tries to keep a sunny disposition (which is what wins Luc's family over.)
  • Playing Hard to Get: Deconstructed as Luc details the poutiness of French women. He states they know how to say "no" when they mean "yes", and that it excites French men. Later, Kate defies the trope, saying she isn't capable of doing that:
    Kate: Happy - smile. Sad - frown. Use the corresponding face for the corresponding emotion!
  • Sexy Walk: When Kate has the idea of selling the necklace herself, Luc approves, saying she'd stroll in looking "just so" with her sexy walk. Kate denies she does this, but when she tuns and walks away, everyone can see, yes, she does.
  • Shout-Out: Inevitable that at one point Kate will say, "Sorry, Charlie."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kate gives something like this to Charlie after they get back together. She makes a point to rhetorically wonder why he didn't notice Kate's "light" until now.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: "Lactose intolerance!"
  • Toilet Humor: Of the subtle variety regarding the lactose intolerance scene: Kate talking about mucus lining her intestines, not able to sit down after "fixing" the situation in the train station restroom, and so on.
  • True Blue Femininity: Kate is called a "goddess" by Luc when she wears an expensive blue dress to seduce Charlie (along with the diamond necklace.)
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Jean-Paul and Luc.
  • Will They or Won't They?
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Jean-Paul repeatedly states his belief that Luc is much better than a petty thief.


Example of: