There have been a number of movies that have played up the “Freaky Friday” theme: Two characters who wish they were in a different set of circumstances or who are at odds with one another and who magically swap bodies, giving each a rare glimpse into the life of the other. “Prelude to a Kiss” played with this theme but took away the slapstick element and explored more spiritual themes, such as mortality and the meaning of life.
“Prelude to a Kiss” stars a very young Meg Ryan as Rita and a very young Alec Baldwin as Peter. Rita drinks like a fish to mask her pervasive pessimism. Peter falls for the quirky Rita despite her disabling fear, and the two get married.
On the day of their wedding, a random man stumbles through the reception and asks for a kiss from the bride. When she obliges, a supernatural twist causes the two to swap bodies.
The movie explores the deep fears that many of us have that are driven by our mortality. The swap takes place because the man is so desperate to be young again and to have another chance to live his life — to start again. In contrast, Rita is so desperate to be at the end of her life so she doesn’t have to live in fear any longer. She can finally be free.
For the remainder of the movie, Rita and Peter try to figure out how to get her back in her own body, with the mysterious man fighting them every step of the way as he is determined to hold onto his chance to live again.
The movie delivers some powerful messages about the need to seize every opportunity you can to live and enjoy your life — despite the fear and the anxiety that you may feel. Yes, the specter of death may make us fearful, but it is the same impetus that should make us seize all that life has to offer.
I have struggled with a fear of death, like many others. I often wonder what it means to really live my life to the fullest, and this movie made me ponder those questions more deeply. Like Rita, I have at times wondered what a relief it might feel like to know that the end was close and that there was no more need to fear.
The movie tries to answer those questions, and it gently extorts viewers to be careful what you wish for — to not wish away your own life because it will eventually pass you by and you will miss out on all the opportunities you have to be happy. It is a lesson that Rita learns in the end, as she realizes that she cannot be with Peter if she is trapped in the man’s body. She eventually is returned to her body, and she is happy to be given the opportunity to start again.
What do you think it means to live life to the fullest? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This is a guest post written by Heather Green. Heather Green is a mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice about online nursing classes.