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Before Sunrise (1995)

  Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Kim Krizan, Richard Linklater
Starring: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Links: Before Sunrise on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book
Genre: Romance

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Before Sunrise (1995) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Before Sunset (2004) and em_fiction's review of Coffee and Cigarettes (2003).

"Warm and fuzzy" - a review by pearly

I've seen most of Richard Linklater's films, but this has been somewhat by accident. I've never identified him as one of my personal favourites as far as directors go, I've just gotten a freebie here, another freebie there, and so on, and somehow have ended up seeing almost all of his stuff. For the most part, I've enjoyed it.

Linklater's films, his real films, the ones that you can tell he's doing for the love of the craft, rather than the dollers in the pocket (say, Waking Life as opposed to School of Rock (2003)), all have a certain feel to them. It's kinda like watching a long conversation unravelling before you. Plot is secondary; the most important thing is the script, which weaves its way backwards and forwards, not really getting anywhere in particular, just moving along like any real-life conversation. The kinds of comments you might hear from others around you as the credits begin to roll would be "so, what was the point of that?", because often, there isn't a point, or, there isn't a clear point. The movie just... is.

Before Sunrise is no exception. Loosely, it's about a young man, Jesse (Ethan Hawke), who meets a young woman, Celine (Julie Delpy), on a train. Jesse is headed back to his native USA, and Celine is travelling to her native France. But Jesse and Celine get to talking, and Jesse, finding Celine fascinating, hatches a plan for the two to spend the night together (not together as in sexually, just together as in, you know, together), wandering around Vienna for the night and just living for the moment, until Jesse has to board his plane in the morning.

And this is what they do. They wander. They talk. They talk a lot. Not about anything in particular, not about things that would advance the plot in any real way, they just talk. And slowly but surely, things develop, and the real story creeps up and taps you lightly on the shoulder, and then, just as you're settling into that, the story ends. Linklater is not afraid of this kind of approach. And for someone who is not averse to the resulting style of film, it can be a very rewarding experience.

The impact of the whole thing was somewhat lessened for me due to the fact that I was quite well aware of the fact that the sequel, Before Sunset (2004), was almost out in cinemas. Having this knowledge the first time through the film certainly would change the experience from having seen it nearly ten years ago, and not knowing any more about the two lead characters until now. But I can imagine they're the kind of characters that, on hearing of the sequel, most people will remember fondly, and actually be interested in hearing what happened to them. The sequel will be, for many, like getting together with an old friend.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 24 Aug 2004

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