Before Sunrise


“You have no idea where I came from. We have no idea where we’re going.” - Before Sunrise (1995)


Many of us dream of a chance meeting with someone, forging an instant connection. The encounter on a train between American Jesse and French Celine, who decide to get off the train together in Vienna, parallels one American director Richard Linklater had himself.




Before Sunrise brings together Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in a film that’s basically plotless. The duo literally only walks and talks throughout the city. Yet the film is truly a diamond in the romance genre; it’s recognizable, unpretentious, and real.


The discussions between the couple are fascinating and entertaining because they talk about questions that we’ve all wondered about. They converse about religion, life and death, the differences between men and women, love and sex, cultural differences, ambitions, and dreams.




The conversations are natural and believable. There is palpable honesty and spontaneity between the actors, in part due to the fact that they seem to take a genuine pleasure in working with each other. This dynamic allows the audience to fully care about and identify with the characters.




Just as in real life, the protagonists don’t talk constantly; there are silences. They forget what they were saying, naturally shifting from one subject to the other. In the meantime their attraction slowly grows, and the two fall in love within the film's progression.




You forget that you’re dealing with people from different countries. At one point you forget he’s American, and she's European. They click; there’s a meeting of minds and you see that they truly see each other as equals.


Vienna is seen through their eyes. The audience sees the city up close, immersing us into the city’s atmosphere and its romantic air.


The lovers realize they will probably only share one single day-- but it’s a day that will have marked their lives forever.




If there’s a lesson in Before Sunrise, it is to be a bit impulsive sometimes-- to grab that opportunity life throws your way or have that cup of coffee with the stranger you just met.

Text by Ayla Van Damme and Visual by Sam Fabian

3 comments

  1. I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH AND AYLA THIS REVIEW IS WELL WRITTEN I'M SO GLAD I COLLABORATED WITH YOU

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    1. Thank you! I also loved our collaboration. And definitely look forward to working with you again!

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  2. Great review, Ayla, you captured the essence of this film!

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