Before Sunrise (1995)
Running Time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Before Sunrise is the first installment of a trilogy that follows the relationship between Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy). In Before Sunrise, Jesse is introduced as an American tourist traveling from Budapest to Vienna on a train where he meets a French student, Celine. To pass time before his flight the next morning, Jesse decides to ask Celine to spend the day with him in Vienna as he sensed they are developing a connection. The movie then follows the two strangers connecting over the course of a single day, but what will happen the next morning when Jesse flies back to America.
I think the reason why this movie ended up as a classic, is the simplicity of the storyline added with the complexity of the characters. All we see throughout the film is two strangers getting to know each other’s thoughts, opinions, and quirks as they walk around the beautiful city of Vienna. One of the reasons the film worked is mainly due to the dialogue, it’s fast-paced, it barely stops, there’s rarely a silent moment between the two main characters, and when there is, the chemistry between the two is simply bursting through the screen. As someone in their 20s, you can’t help but agree with the views stated by either one of the characters; the topics were sprinkled with bits of existentialism and philosophy, as the two pondered about their hopes in life, their views on love, and their thoughts on people. It’s not hard to fall in love with these two as the movie progresses. One of the best things that Linklater achieved in the film is picking out Hawke and Delpy as the leads, you can see that the two are becoming fast friends, and at times, the conversation happening between the characters seem so spontaneous that it felt like it was Hawke and Delpy who were speaking out their minds, it was the two of them who were connecting, not Jesse and Celine. So, I guess these two really made the movie what it is today because of the chemistry between them.
Last but not least, the scenery, I think the city itself really gave the movie a vibe that sealed the deal, and the smooth shots of the city as the couple explored it are done brilliantly. Highly recommended to those who love a good romance film, or just a film that explores and focuses on characters and of course the European setting.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10