One of my surprises when considering confrontation scenes in movies recently was the number of films where she slaps/punches/kicks/knees him.
|Robert Downey Jr. finds a red rose no defense against Marisa Tomei in Only You (1994)|
|Ryan Reynolds cops one from Isla Fisher in Definitely, Maybe (2008)|
When I asked various friends about it, not one of them could remember the face-slap scene either. These are all people who are fond of the movie. (I'd conducted an informal survey of What's Your Favourite Rom/Com? among friends a year earlier and WHMS came out on top, by a wide margin.)
|Watch out, Harry, here it comes...|
|Aamir Khan cops a slap from Kareena Kapoor in 3 Idiots (2009)|
Are they a vicarious I-Wish-I'd-Done-That moment to satisfy a female audience still seething over some historical wrong, or do they fulfill some other function?
|Edward Burns deserved it, too.|
For the benefit of those looking at the timing—for structural reasons—I checked five of our films. The punch in The Holiday takes place at the 12% mark, the slap in Only You at the 54% mark, in Groundhog Day at the 57% mark, in Definitely, Maybe at the 75% mark, and in When Harry Met Sally at the 89% mark.
What does it all mean? Who knows? Certainly not me. But I am now reviewing confrontation scenes in my scripts with a view to adding a decent slap somewhere.