Prelude to a Kiss (1992)


On their wedding day, a couple (Alec Baldwin, The Hunt for the Red October, and Meg Ryan, When Harry Met Sally) meets a mysterious old man (Sydney Walker, Getting Even with Dad) who changes their lives forever.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“Je hebt erg witte tanden.”

Although I stepped into Prelude to a Kiss with no expectations (I didn’t even know what it was about), I found myself completely enthralled by it. This whimsical romantic comedy has enough heart and wisdom to vindicate its truly kooky storyline.

Written by Craig Lucas, based on his popular 1988 stage play of the same name, the film evokes classic offbeat rom-coms like I Married a Witch (1942), One Touch of Venus (1948), and Bell Book and Candle (1958). Like the aforementioned movies, Prelude to a Kiss mixes fantasy elements with a touching love story.

It’s like two different movies glued together. The first half is a quirky romantic comedy about two ideologically different people, a free-spirited bartender and a conservative yuppie, who somehow fall in love. The second half is like an episode of the 1980s TV show Amazing Stories. At first glance, the two halves don’t seem to belong together, but at some point during the film, everything starts to make sense.

It’s hard to explain why I liked this movie without spoiling the plot twist, so I’m just going to say that I enjoyed how the film puts forward the concept of love being a mystical experience. Why do we fall head over heels in love with one person and not another? The film makes a valiant attempt to explain the unexplainable.

Prelude to a Kiss has many weird scenes, and it gets way with it because the actors are great. I think this is my favorite Meg Ryan performance. Without getting into the specifics of her character, I simply want to say that what Ryan does here is by no means easy. It’s a tricky, extremely challenging role, and Ryan never takes a wrong step.

As a matter of fact, everybody gets an A plus for effort. Alec Baldwin, who is mostly known for playing abrasive characters in numerous movies, is surprisingly tender here. Sydney Walker is great as the enigmatic old man who appears unannounced at Ryan and Baldwin’s wedding. Ned Beatty (John Boorman’s Deliverance) and Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker) are hilarious as Ryan’s parents. My only complaint is that Kathy Bates (Misery) is wasted in the small role of Walker’s daughter.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Prelude to a Kiss is a funny and heartfelt romantic comedy that reveals some powerful truths about love, loss, and the fragility of the human existence — it’s a thinking person’s rom-com. Suspension of disbelief is required, and those viewers willing to accept the film’s strange premise will be rewarded with a sweet and intelligent love story that tackles some of the mysteries of everyday life. Color, 105 minutes, Rated PG-13.


9 responses to “Prelude to a Kiss (1992)

  1. Reblogged this on Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies and commented:
    Wow, what a surprise. I’m glad you watched this one, even happier that you appreciated it. It’s strange, for all the talent in its cast, Prelude to a Kiss passed almost unseen on its release.
    I’m with you on Meg Ryan’s dual performance, but perceptions of what constitutes a good or bad acting are so subjective. Sometimes a performer’s style in a particular role just doesn’t click with one person, whereas someone else will find it a perfect fit. Anyway I’m glad you got some enjoyment from Prelude to a Kiss, and thank you for sharing this. Your review has made my day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh boy, a favorite of ours back in the day! Haven’t seen it in years…and now after your review you’ve got my nostalgia going, lol. Very nice review and insights without giving away the very strange twist, indeed. And yeah, Baldwin IS always abrasive, isn’t he, nowadays? But I remember him doing a little monologue in this and tearing up and it was SO touching. Very good vehicle for Meg, too. I thought she and Matthew Broderick were really good in a movie I’m sure no one remembers: Addicted to Love. (I just looked it up because I forgot the title, and Meg Ryan now looks almost exactly like Nicole Kidman! lol)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Baldwin’s monologue is indeed touching. He is always great at playing jerks (I wonder why? 😉 ), so I was kinda surprised to see him give a poignant performance.

      Because rom-coms aren’t taken seriously, Ryan remains an underrated actor. Now in her sixties, I hope she embraces her age and returns to the screen in juicy character parts (she could become the next Mercedes Ruehl or Brenda Vaccaro).

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yeah, I guess he’s proven to be an actual jerk in real life, huh? The whole “pig” comment with the daughter….
    But yeah, Meg as another Mercedes or Brenda…good examples. Sigh. Maybe she WILL come into her own as an older woman….

    Liked by 2 people

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