Monday, June 30, 2014

Before Sunrise Review

My second journey through the Richard Linklater "Before" trilogy, and it was even more magical this time around. The story of Jesse and Celine as they first meet is the beginning of my favorite cinematic romance of all time, one that over the course of three films and 18 years is often times far from perfect, far from a fairy tale, but that is why I can't take my eyes off of them and the very authentic chemistry they share on screen. Romance portrayed in film is typically dripping in bullshit, the same story used year after year after year starring people like Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl and none of it works, none of it is believable. I cringe each time a new film is released that shows absolutely nothing resembling the real world and what a real relationship is like and yet people eat that shit up like it's a fine meal, while most people I meet have never even heard of Before Sunrise.

On paper the plot of Before Sunrise is just as guilty of being a horseshit story book romance, two young beautiful people meeting on a train and immediately connecting just screams of absurd sap, but my god this rather uneventful journey of two souls finding each other is on a whole new level of enchanting cinema. The first time I saw this film I will admit to being a bit taken aback by how heavy in dialogue and light on anything else it was, because I kept expecting some sort of typical Hollywood obstacles to test their fresh, profound feelings, but during this revisit I realized the entire situation is an obstacle. Time is their obstacle. Every word, every step, every passing minute is one step closer to a moment they both deeply dread yet don't want to think about until they have to: the idea that they will have to say goodbye and potentially never see each other again. 

The film brought me back to when I first met my wife and we had nothing to do one night so we just drove around and talked for hours, and these memories made me realize how absurd it is to say that nothing happens in Before Sunrise. The power of conversation, the tension between two people who are trying to determine the intensity of their feelings for each other, the fear of the unknown of what's to come. Sure, it would be easy to say we did nothing that night, just talked, drove around, but in reality everything happened that night. Every word set our future in motion and nine years later we have a daughter entering first grade. Was the night technically uneventful? Absolutely. 

Two human beings truly connecting doesn't get much more exciting than that.


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