Mike Kueber's Blog

April 8, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies #21 – Before Sunrise

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 4:11 pm
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After it prematurely delivered the sequel Before Sunset (2004) earlier this week, Netflix finally got around to delivering the original Before Sunset (1995).  As I suggested in my posting on Before Sunset, the sequel was great, so I couldn’t wait to see the original.  I wasn’t disappointed. 

Before Sunrise begins with young American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) on a train to Vienna to catch a plane back to America.  He had been visiting his girlfriend in Spain, where he learned that she was no longer that into him and didn’t appreciate his company.  While on the train, Jesse strikes up a conversation with a pretty young French woman Celine (Julie Delphy), who was returning to France after visiting her ailing grandmother in Budapest. 

As with Before Sunset, Before Sunrise consists entirely these two characters engaged in a philosophical conversation.  Whereas Before Sunset takes place in the span of less than two hours, Before Sunset actually lasts from one afternoon to the next morning, when Jesse has to catch a plane back to America.

The philosophy discussed by the two characters isn’t particularly deep or profound, although I was impressed with Jesse’s comment that the dumpee wants to think that the dumper is hurting, too, but his personal experience as a dumper informed him that the dumpers have no pain and little empathy because they have already moved on.  Been there.  I was also impressed by Celine’s comment about all her former boyfriends who went on to better relationships that ended in marriages.  Celine said she was sick of hearing from these guys that she had helped them learn how to love better.  Been there.  That’s like putting up with a defect in your house for years and then, after you decide to sell the house, you fix the defect for the benefit of the new buyer.  Why didn’t you fix it up in time to enjoy the change yourself?

What makes the Jesse/Celine philosophical discussion special is that the characters connect.  They both are vaguely sad individuals who have a deep interest in sharing their innermost thoughts, and they have finally found a kindred spirit who both gives and receives on the same level of undertanding and appreciation.

As I mentioned in my previous blog posting, the couple at the end of the movie promised to get back together in Vienna in six months, but that did not happen.  That is the only unrealistic thing about the sequel.  With the love that these two individuals developed in less than 24 hours, there would have been nothing that would have prevented their reunion in Vienna.  (Oops, I forgot the truism that in the beginning it is infatuation, not love, that exists between two souls.  Now I’m not so sure about that.)

Before Sunrise was written and directed by Richard Linklater, a Texas filmmaker who is famous for one-day movies like these, plus Slacker and Dazed & Confused.  Both the Sunrise and Sunset movies were excellently received by critics and audiences.  Although Before Sunrise was slightly better received by both, I reverse the order and slightly prefer Before Sunset.  Four stars.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Before Sunrise was about a young American guy (Ethan Hawke) who met a young French girl (Julie Delphy) on train from Hungary to France.  The entire movie consists of their talking about life while on the train for a few hours and then during a one-night layover in Vienna.  When they part in Vienna the next day, they make some vague plans for a shared future. […]

    Pingback by Saturday Night at the Movies #84 – Before Midnight | Mike Kueber's Blog — October 25, 2013 @ 1:05 am | Reply


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