Linklater’s simple yet highly enjoyable film where the two main performers are the key to the films success. Before Sunrise is another one of Richard Linklater’s experimental films where the dialogue and performances are the main focus and the usual filmic techniques (like multiple edits, shots and angles) are abandoned for a more free form and relaxing capture of what genuinely feels like a blossoming relationship.
Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are two strangers who meet on a eurorail heading towards Vienna. An argument between a German couple provides the excuse/reason for Celine (Delpy) to sit adjacent to Jesse (Hawke). Jesse takes this opportunity to talk to Celine. They sit together and start a conversation where the spark of a budding relationship begins to form. When the train finally stops at Vienna, Jesse plans to get off whereas Celine is suppose to be heading on. Jesse decides to take a chance and invites Celine to spend a day in Vienna with him as he has no money for a hotel/accommodation. They both feel like they could talk for hours and didn’t want the conversation to stop so Celine gets off on the same stop and we follow them, getting to know one another on the streets of Vienna.
For those of you expecting anything dramatic in terms of action or dialogue you are watching the wrong film. It’s just goes on from one conversation to another. It’s set at a very leisurely pace as the two of them walk the streets of Vienna where they discuss things that come to mind. One scene has them being tracked through the streets in one continual shot which is marvellous done as both leads talk so naturally it feels like we are listening in on a private conversation, though what they talk about is not at all pompous or overly intellectual but of amusing observations, anecdotes and quirky ideas (like reincarnation and monkeys!)
There is one particular scene in the music store where they stand in a booth and listen to some music, quickly glancing at one another hoping for the other not to catch them looking. It’s all too cute, touching and refreshingly genuine. A romantic tale where a boy meets girl and actually talk to one another from past experience, ideals and opinions on everything no matter how insignificant, or obscure. It’s these little things that gives this film it’s beauty and enjoyment. As their relationship unfolds it becomes more and more naturalistic and believable. Can two strangers meet and fall in love in one night? For those of you who hold some romantic notion/ideal then the answer would be yes, but for those cynics out there, you will probably think this is all too convenient.
Not a film which will be suited for those looking for something more than just two people discovering each others personality and a film where dialogue is the main driving force of the plot. The two leads are extremely likable and very easy on the eyes, with a completely believable and very genuine look at two people falling for one another and with the film finishing with both characters promising to come back and reconnect, the film is left for us to imagine whether their love can truly blossom such is the way of the spirit of the film, very invigorating, imaginative and joyful to watch.