Another Prelude to a Kiss

“Like that…the spell was cast.”

Prelude to a Kiss is not a flawless film. As wonderful as I think it is, it received mixed reviews on its release in 1992, and unlike another Meg Ryan oddity, Joe Versus the Volcano, it hasn’t even managed to acquire cult status.Nevertheless I watch Prelude to a Kiss at least once a year. I still vividly recall the first time I ever saw it, and always wish I could have that experience again.Wedding VowsMore so than in perhaps any other film of her career, Meg Ryan is genuinely lovable here. Alec Baldwin stoically carries the weight of the story, and they make such an appealing couple, it scarcely matters that the stellar supporting cast; comprising Ned Beatty, Stanley Tucci, Patty Duke and Kathy Bates are reduced to roughly two scenes of screen time each.Prelude (Meg and Alec Baldwin)Leaving aside any criticism of the body swap premise and the mystical aspects of the plot, the opening act of Prelude to a Kiss provides one of the most intoxicating half hours I’ve seen in any motion picture. No stunts, no slapstick, just movie magic. Meg Ryan magic. You see the romance between the two of them. You see the idealism and free spirit of Meg Ryan, and the heartbreaking talk about fear and personal courage.Prelude to a KissFor many people the film loses its way from the moment Meg’s character Rita kisses Julius (Sydney Walker), but those first forty minutes always hit me in a deeply personal way. Will I ever see another film with an opening act as mesmerising as this one? It’s hard to imagine.

24 Comments

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24 responses to “Another Prelude to a Kiss

  1. Girl Interrupted20

    I adore Prelude to a Kiss to no end… I’m seeing it at The Film Forum next week & I’m really excited about that (despite my usual preference for dvds).

  2. Lovely write-up. Prelude To A Kiss is a beauty and in my top three of 1992. It’s such an underrated gem.
    Few people love Meg Ryan as I do, and I will never say anything bad about any of her films especially this excellent one. It’s a pity it wasn’t more recognised. Meg really could do anything.

    • Despite the star power of Meg and Alec Baldwin, Prelude to a Kiss is a curiosity that somehow got lost in the early 90′s of mainstream American cinema.

  3. I remember this one but its been so long now..I will watch the opening again…it was a very different kind of movie from Meg’s end..the body swap thing…but I love Rita’s confused and unsure character…Meg did a fine job with Rita :)

  4. really cute movie… and what a wonderful surprise to hear from you today! happy new year friend!! pam

  5. I’ve never watched this one, but I will soon, after such an intriguing review!

    I re-watched Frankie and Johnny on Monday… Beautiful!
    Thanks for all the suggestions, Paul!

    • You’re welcome Evi. If you liked Frankie and Johnny there’s a good chance you’ll take to Prelude to a Kiss. Both films are thoughtful, dialogue driven, play-to-movie adaptations, although they reach their endings by completely different means.
      I’ll let you make up your own mind!

  6. It was wonderful to hear from you my friend. Truly! I have missed you.
    I do agree with you about the opening. It is absolutely glorious. You and I have always been of one mind about such matters though. I love this film from beginning to end! :-)

    • Absolutely! Prelude to a Kiss is one of the half-dozen best romantic films of the 90s. Meg Ryan was fabulous. But so, surprisingly, was Alec Baldwin. Of course it all starts with the screenplay and it was profoundly affecting. Don’t you wish they still made films like this?

  7. Paul………
    You Meg Maniac you…….
    RR

  8. Aaron

    What happened to your movie monologue segment? I quite enjoyed reading those venerated, but crafty, pieces of screenwriting.

    By the way Paul, the reason I don’t often comment on your posts is because they remind me too much of the car chase scene in the movie Bullitt.
    They’re an experience that requires no words!

  9. I was wondering the same thing as Aaron above. I really enjoyed Monday’s post.

    • And, thank you Paul!
      For your comments and recommendations.
      No pressure but I think you should post more often. :)

    • Thank you Evi and Aaron.
      I sometimes get tired of my own thoughts, so it’s gratifying to receive genuine comments, feedback and suggestions such as yours.

      I’m sure I will bring back the monologue feature at some point in the future. Until then, I’ll see you around!

      Paul

  10. Found this on VHS!

    • I remember recording Prelude to a Kiss when it was shown on the BBC, must be nearly twenty years ago. I kept that VHS tape till it practically wore out.
      I’ve now upgraded to DVD, and I’ve even bought a spare copy.
      That’s how much I love Prelude to a Kiss!

  11. If you watch this movie once a year, you must really love this.
    I haven’t seen this film, but sounds like it’s worth checking out, even though you seem to have kind of given away the ending.
    My favourite Meg Ryan flick happens to be – When Harry met sally. But I do like her other movies like ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ‘DOA’, ‘Joe vs the volcano’ (although you’ve called it a Meg Ryan oddity), ‘Serious Moonlight’ and her small role in ‘Restoration’.

    • Welcome Nuwan.

      I’ve been guilty of talking about Prelude to a Kiss far too many times in the past, so I assumed most people who visit here would know about the plot twist. I hope my spoiler doesn’t spoil your enjoyment if you do watch the film.
      I like all the Meg Ryan movies you listed especially Joe Versus the Volcano, but I do find it odd so few people share my passion for it. As for Serious Moonlight lets hope that doesn’t turn out to be the last motion picture of Meg’s career. Only time will tell.

  12. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I haven’t thought about Meg Ryan for years, now have come by this (via Mark’s site). You’ve revived my appreciation of her. Cheers.

    • Welcome.
      I’m happy you dropped by, even happier to hear I’ve revived your dormant appreciation of Meg and her movies.
      Best wishes for 2014.