Before Sunrise (1995)

5 STARS

General Information

The information below is taken from the following link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112471/

  105 min  -  Drama | Romance   -  20 April 1995 (UK)

Director

Richard Linklater

Writors

Richard Linklater; Kim Krizan

Stars

Ethan Hawke; Julie Delpy; Andrea Eckert

Plot:

Two strangers meet on a train journey, they then decide to hang out with each other for a whole day before they then separate, and lead their separate lives.

Review:

Richard Linklater is clearly a director fascinated by conversation, he is in love with good dialogue, and more importantly, he writes good dialogue, dialogue that is rare: dialogue that feels real.

I must point out, Before Sunrise has no violence, no confrontation, no sex, no betrayals, not even a Peggy-Mitchell-esque slap around the face. All of the drama is in the dialogue and conversation; tension, humour, and emotions are created not through the barrel of a gun or through a revealing sex scene (or through Peggy Mitchell slapping someone hard), but through the construction of a sentence.

Our characters, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet on a train heading to Vienna. They start talking, they realise that they have chemistry, and a spark is set. Later on, Jesse has a crazy idea, what if they both went off the train and spent 24 hours with each other and then just separated; after all, they were getting on well, and if they weren’t, what else would they be doing?

For me, the film has a certain charm, it’s very light-hearted yet at the same time deep. 

The film is oddly quite humorous: it provides in-jokes which everyone gets. In-jokes are usually only funny to the two people involved in the in-joke itself, yet this movie involves conversation which draws us in so much that we feel part of it, we feel as if we can take a slice in on that life and be part of the in-joke itself (“bloody Americans!”).

So, what else do they talk about? Average conversation really: life, love, sex, parents, childhood, and personal beliefs/philosophies.

I suppose, there will be those who don’t like this movie and will say that they find it monotonous and pointless; I understand completely, it is, essentially, ‘plotless’. However, it allowed me – and maybe you – to take something away, it reminded me of previous conversations I’ve had, and due to this, it connected with me on a much deeper level.

Parallels can be drawn between this film and Sofia Coppola’s – also ‘plotless’ – ‘Lost in Translation’. However, I feel Lost in Translation was in a sense, pretentious, as it pretended it had more to it than it actually had; it attempted to say something but didn’t.

Before Sunrise, isn’t like Lost in Translation at all, as it allows each individual viewer to take a different slice of meaning than another, it may mean something different for me than it would for somebody else, one chunk of conversation may speak more levels to me than it would to you, the mere fact that this film allows itself to not just be open to interpretation, but can stimulate a different emotion to two different people sets it up higher than other films.

Verdict:

It’s dialogue may not be as punchy or as quotable like the dialogue from a Tarantino, but it certainly digs deeper emotionally and packs the bigger punch. It may be ‘plotless’ but it doesn’t necessarily make it pointless. It’s meaning, emotion and depth is richer than anything else I have ever seen.

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One thought on “Before Sunrise (1995)

  1. Pingback: My 30 Greatest Movie Moments… « Star Reviews

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