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Before Sunrise: The Best Romance of 1995

March 23, 2015

Before Sunrise poster

20 year ago a little indie came and went out of theaters. It didn’t have much of an affect on the populace but has since grown into a beautiful time capsule. Two people, no cell phones, and a whole lot of pontificating. Before Sunrise is one of my favorite films. It is intelligent, literate, mature and has a deep affection for the two stars. They meet cute, they talk all night and leave you wanting more.

Before Sunrise

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Roger Ebert summed this movie up perfectly when he said this:

Before Sunrise is about two nice kids, literate, sensitive, tentative, intoxicated by the fact that their lives stretch out before them, filled with mystery and hope, and maybe love

I latched onto Before Sunset  because it was something I had never seen before. It focuses on two people talking and walking and it connected with me. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) was out of his league with Celine (Julie Delpy) and it was evident. However, his stream of consciousness talking and earnestness win the day and Celine falls for his charm. When you are living in middle of nowhere Florida and you see something like this it feels like a revelation. I watched Before Sunrise because I randomly bought a VHS of Dazed and Confused and I loved every second of it. So, I hunted down Slacker and Before Sunset (Thank you Blockbuster!) and watched both films on my 12 inch TV/VHS combo player (Thank you Circuit City).

You can look back and scoff at these young kids  but that doesn’t make sense. They were young, confident and didn’t know any better. They talked like literate twenty somethings who were caught up in attraction and the locales. Sure, they emote more than normal. However, they were worried about the future, uncertain of the present and enjoying the now. In Before Sunset they looked back and joked about their decision to meet up in six months. However, at that time in their lives it felt right. Jesse and Celine have never been the perfect couple. If you look back to a time in your college years I bet you are still embarrassed about something you said or did.

Before Sunrise

I related to the characters and Linklater didn’t take it easy on the viewers. The couple ending up going their separate ways and I loved that. People come in and out of our lives and it is easy to fall in love with someone before you know them. These two met again nine years later and had built an idolized version of each other. Before Midnight destroyed their idealized world and brought them crashing to earth (it would happen). Before Sunrise is the foundation for the two critically acclaimed films. Without their meeting and departing we wouldn’t have two amazing stories of love and maturity. It is easy to see why Jesse stayed in Before Sunset.

Sidenote: I had this poster framed on my wall during my college years

before

Call me an idealist but I don’t want to know what happened to the characters from Dazed and Confused (Wooderson is most certainly in jail). I want some hope and mystery. I love the other two Before films but they delve into the minutiae and selfishness we see all too often. They make problems for themselves and act like communication is a lost art. They spend days talking to other people yet they are growing apart. I don’t need a fairy tale ending but I also don’t need hyper realism. I think that is why Sunrise is my favorite of the three films. There is a naivety and hope to the proceedings. We know the real world will come crashing down but we should embrace the chance encounters and moments that mold who we are.

I love Before Sunrise. It captures a moment in life that many people can relate to and it was one of the first films I watched with my wife.  She knew I loved the film so much she did this typography for a school project.

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20 year ago Before Sunrise was unleashed upon the world. It was the foundation for two beautiful films and it still feels relevant today. Enjoy the ride.

Before Sunrise train

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2015 10:43 am

    This movie for me is the best example of showing what falling in love is like in cinema. Too many times in movies. Characters just fall in love for no reason and this one builds and builds. I love all three movies. Great review.

    • March 23, 2015 12:50 pm

      Thanks! It felt really organic and I loved how hard Hawke was working. You could see them falling in love and they left it on a perfect cliffhanger. Great film.

  2. John Leavengood permalink
    March 23, 2015 11:57 am

    Back in college (early 2000s) I would confuse Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I’d see one or the other every 6-12 months and would often feel surprised at the scenes that did or did not feel familiar. I swear, even though I loved them I had no idea there was more than one movie until I had seen each more than once. LOL

    • March 23, 2015 12:45 pm

      Wait…I thought they were in Vienna not France? Didn’t Hawke have a mustache? haha

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