Friday, March 30, 2012
In the Rain: Love When Wet
A scene in the rain is now a cliché. I mean, in real life I don't have a conversation in the rain about love as the rain would likely cause my contact lenses to swim out of my eye socket. That being said I can't help but love a good rainy scene.
There's the classic one in Singin' In The Rain, which I think everyone would love to do once in their life. I do enjoy splashing around in my rain boots so I am on my way to becoming Gene Kelly.
When I watch Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's in the rain looking for her cat it makes me almost want to get a cat. Almost, but then I remember I hate cats. When George Peppard kisses her it makes me melt, and I want to get struck by lightning.
One of the hottest romantic scenes in the rain is in The Notebook. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams getting hot and bothered under a torrential downpour is porn for ladies. It's spontaneous, passionate and forbidden with a hint of skin under the wet clothes. But the clothes stay on and that's what makes it work!
But what about those pesky rain scene in the romantic comedy? Even a great film like 4 Weddings and a Funeral can't pull off a rain scene. In large part this scene doesn't work because Andie McDowell is the worst thing in an otherwise great film. But also the dialogue comes across as fake and forced. When McDowell says, "It's raining? I hadn't noticed." I cringe every time. How could you NOT notice? Am I supposed to believe that you're so caught up in the moment of love that you can't be bothered by the weather? I think that's what the filmmakers wanted, but instead it makes the audience laugh out loud at its absurdity. It doesn't work because the majority of the film is witty and sarcastic and this moment feels out of place.
A great rain scene (probably my favorite) comes to us in the film Sliding Doors. A gem of a film. It shows us two paths taken and what can happen. We have all had moments of what if? in our lives and this film captures that question and answer beautifully. Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah have a moment of miscommunication that leads them to a scene on a bridge where the London rain pours down on them. The feelings are heartfelt and the dialogue is genuine. It is one of the best love scenes in the rain ever.
So if you're thinking about writing a scene in the rain think long and hard. Watch scenes that work and ones that don't. Go over your dialogue with a fine tooth comb. Make it realistic. How would people react in the rain? Would they try to run from it? Would they play with it? Would it make them miserable or happy? Would they care about their shoes getting ruined? Once you know what the characters would feel and do in that situation then you're ready for the downpour!