Team Experience is celebrating Valentines Day with favorite love scenes. Here's Lynn Lee on an 80s classic
Everyone who loves this film remembers The Kiss. It’s the moment proper Edwardian girl Lucy Honeychurch (a very young Helena Bonham-Carter), vacationing in Italy, discovers romantic passion for the first time. She doesn’t know it yet, but the odd free-thinking young man she’s only recently met (Julian Sands) is her soulmate. He knows it, though.
Besides being (literally) storybook-romantic—a sun-drenched poppy field in Italy! lush soprano aria in the background!—the kiss is also wreathed in comedy, as the film cuts back and forth between Lucy, wending her way uncertainly towards George, and her fussy chaperone Charlotte (Maggie Smith) bonding with another fellow tourist, a hacky romance novelist (Judi Dench), over scandalous love stories before she starts to worry about Lucy. Meanwhile, the Italian driver who led Lucy to George looks on in amusement at what he has wrought. He knows what’s up, his own public display of affection having been previously smacked down by these uptight Brits. But the Kiss will not be denied.
It’s also the kiss that keeps on giving for the rest of the movie. Its memory haunts Lucy during her utter failure of a first kiss with her fiancé, Cecil (Daniel Day-Lewis, vying for comic MVP with Maggie Smith), in England. It reappears again at a critical and exquisitely awkward moment as a passage in a terrible romance novel, penned by none other than Charlotte’s novelist friend, that the clueless Cecil just happens to read out loud to none other than Lucy and George. The tension that was simmering since George’s reentry into Lucy’s life then comes to full boil, precipitating a chain of events that eventually forces out in the open what Lucy’s been denying for too long: she and George belong together.
All thanks to one glorious kiss.