9th Best Kiss of 2011

The Daily Beast rated Joel and Elle with the "9th Best Kiss of 2011", even though their lips never touched. Read why. 

Elle Fanning has been acting in front of a camera for the majority of her young life, so it was no surprise when, in director J. J. Abrams’s Super 8, she wowed both her fictional castmates and real-life audiences with a captivating performance in the amateur “film” that the young characters make with a Super 8 camera. What nobody quite saw coming, however, was the chemistry between Fanning and Joel Courtney, who had never acted professionally before Super 8. In one pivotal scene, Courtney, whose character has a long-standing crush on Fanning’s, explains how to act like a zombie for their film. Fanning does a spot-on impression, deadening her eyes and approaching him with threatening, outstretched arms. But the closer her face gets to his, the more it occurs to both Courtney and audiences that their lips might touch. She pulls away before contact is made, but the atmosphere left behind is as emotion-packed as after any kissing scene. When asked by MTV News why he didn’t have the kids play out a full kiss, Abrams said, “These were kids who, their affection for each other didn’t necessarily need to be played out with a kiss. But hopefully you get the sense that their feelings for each other are profound.”

Joel Courtney