PRELUDE TO A KISS
Prelude to a Kiss is a bodyswap fantasy, although one that is far removed from light comedies like Like Father, Like Son (1987) and Vice Versa (1988). The film is taken from a 1990 stage play and is beautifully written. Much time is spent on credibly developing the romance and Craig Lucass dialogue here is often sad and haunting.
The cast chosen may not quite be the right ones for the roles. Alec Baldwin always seems to seethe with a cold sexual dangerousness and he is not necessarily the most inviting person for a romantic lead like this. On the other hand, Meg Ryan has made a career out of playing flighty single women in romantic films and seems perfect for the role. While she is fine as herself, unfortunately either playing the part of the old man was beyond her or she never rehearsed with Sydney Walker and never seems to suggest that she is the same person as the old man we initially meet.
The best performance in the film comes from Sydney Walker as the old man. He suggests both frightened youth trapped inside the aging body and genteel, sad wisdom. The climax of the film where he explains his actions and delivers a sad lament for the beauty of womanhood contains some impressive writing. The scene does let the old man off the hook and grants a great deal of sympathy to him in a way that is perhaps not 100% convincing he is after all somebody who has been prepared to lie and deceive to keep Meg Ryans body.
The film also leaves many questions seemingly hanging up at the end one keeps wondering what a conservative old mans reaction would be to being in a womans body but he seems happy to make love to Alec Baldwin and is ready to have his baby without any issues of gender confusion being raised. The film is at least daring enough to go out on a limb and have the two lovers kiss while both are in male bodies contrast this to the glossily commercial Ghost (1990), which copped out on having two lovers kiss while both were inhabiting womens bodies.