In honor of Valentine's Day, our staff will be sharing some of their favorite romantic scenes all day long.
I hate to begin a love post with a caveat, but I have to be honest -- this is not my favorite romantic scene of all time. But YouTube is playing hard to get this Valentine's Day, so I'm settling for a scene I like from a film that I love: Witness. I know I've breathlessly praised Witness before, but cinematic affairs deserve more than one love letter.
The romances I like best are generally the saddest ones, and the one between John Book and Rachel Lapp is exquisitely heartbreaking. They are two characters who share the same core values, but are from such different worlds that they're at odds with each other. Book may have staunch morals (sneered at by his sister), but he's still too radical for Rachel's world, even if she is the most rebellious woman of the community. Nothing captures that better than the famous scene where Book is repairing his car, and turns on Sam Cook's What A Wonderful World. His joy over the song leaves Rachel mystified, but the brush with the forbidden is thrilling, especially when he asks her to dance, a request that breaks all the rules her community holds dear. It's a sexy moment due to its sheer joy and innocence, and Kelly McGillis plays it so perfectly. She's afraid of getting caught, but she can't resist, and the way her face keeps switching from wariness, to joy, to uncertainty again is just brilliant.
As for Harrison Ford, well, this scene pretty much defines why women loved him for so very long. Women constantly say that Witness made them want to be Amish, as if a conservative, pre-Industrial lifestyle would really bring John Book to your door with Sam Cook's song in hand. But watching this, can you really blame a girl for dreaming?
The scene is embedded below.