A Love Scene is Not a Sex Scene

Love scenes are difficult to write, especially for new writers.  They imply tenderness, protectivness, mutual joy, and a sense of the couple being at ease with each other.  There is trust.  Here is where you need to let the dialog do most of the work in your story.

Remember that a film is made by a team—director, camera team, actors and a host of others.  Let them do their jobs.  You don’t need direction for the actors about faces to make, what to do and the like.  You don’t need to write in camera angles.  Your job is to tell the story and make it believable.

Two of my favorite “love scenes” are from unlikely places.  One is in the middle of Irreversible with a minimum of dialog.  This story is filled with violence including a brutal beating and a horrendously brutal rape.  The writer, Gaspar Noé, had the benefit of Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci, a married couple, as the protagonists.  The scene is very believable.  The script is written in French so I won’t quote here.

The other is in Quentin Tarrantino’s True Romance.

If you are attempting a love scene I highly recommend that you watch both of these scenes, if not the entire film to get a sense of the essence of a love scene as opposed to a sex scene.

Here is Tarrantino’s script for the scene.  Notice there are no camera angles, no actor direction, just the story.

 

EXT. IMPERIAL HIGHWAY v SUNRISE

Clarence’s red Mustang is parked on top of a hill just off of Imperial Highway.

As luck would have it, somebody has abandoned a ratty old sofa on the side of the road. Clarence and Alabama sit on the sofa, sharing a Jumbo Java, and enjoying the sunrise and wonderful view of the LAX Airport runways, where planes are taking off and landing. A plane takes off, and they stop and watch.

 

CLARENCE

Ya know, I used to fuckin’ hate airports.

 

ALABAMA

Really?

 

CLARENCE

With a vengeance, I hated them.

 

ALABAMA

How come?

 

CLARENCE

I used to live by one back in Dearborn. It’s real frustratin’ to be surrounded by airplanes when you ain’t got shit. I hated where I was, but I couldn’t do anythin’ about it. I didn’t have enough money. It was tough enough just tryin’ to pay my rent every month, an’ here I was livin’ next to an airport. Whenever I went outside, I saw fuckin’ planes take off drownin’ out my show. All day long I’m seein’, hearin’ people doin’ what I wanted to do most, but couldn’t.

 

ALABAMA

What?

 

CLARENCE

Leavin’ Detroit. Goin’ off on vacations, startin’ new lives, business trips.

Fun, fun, fun, fun.

 

Another plane takes off.

 

CLARENCE

But knowin’ me and you gonna be nigger-rich gives me a whole new outlook. I love airports now. Me ‘n’ you can get on any one of those planes out there, and go anywhere we want.

 

ALABAMA

You ain’t kiddin’, we got lives to start over, we should go somewhere where we can really start from scratch.

 

CLARENCE

I been in America all my life. I’m due for a change. I wanna see what TV in other countries is like. Besides, it’s more dramatic. Where should we fly off to, my little turtledove?

 

ALABAMA

Cancun.

 

CLARENCE

Why Cancun?

 

ALABAMA

It’s got a nice ring to it. It sounds like a movie. “Clarence and Alabama Go to Cancun”. Don’t ‘cha think?

 

CLARENCE

But in my movie, baby, you get the top billing.

 

They kiss.

 

CLARENCE

Don’t you worry ’bout anything. It’s all gonna work out for us. We deserve it.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “A Love Scene is Not a Sex Scene

  1. I don’t think the Tarantino example is a good one, as he directed his own script, therefore, he knew what he wanted from the scene. I don’t know what he wants from the scene here, taken out of context.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s