Over the past few weekends we’ve had some time on our hands so decided to watch a series of films that we’ve had for a while but never seen. Gary mentioned them to me a while back, and so I bought him all three for Christmas 2014.
Directed by Richard Linklater (his other movies include Dazed and Confused and School of Rock) Before Sunrise (1995) sees a man and a woman meet, by chance, on a train through Europe. They get chatting and eventually get off the train and spend a magical evening together just talking, before they part, promising that they’ll meet back on that train platform in 6 months.
The dialogue is natural and interesting. Considering the whole film is based upon two people just talking, it’s interesting and has your attention the whole time. You’re invested in these people. Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delphy (Celine) are of the time period and perfectly cast. Their chemistry is natural – not too much and not too little. By the end of the movie you know you want more.
Before Sunset (2004) continues the story, the couple meeting once more, in Paris. Jesse has written a book based on their first meeting, and it brings Celine to see him. Very quickly they’re back in their conversational swing and familiar dynamic.
You learn whether they met after 6 months and see how their lives have changed since then.
By the end of this movie I knew I didn’t want to wait another week to see the next, so we put the third and final movie on right away.
Before Midnight (2013) (Spoiler Alert!) sees Jesse and Celine on a writer’s retreat in Greece with their two daughters. After having been together since the end of the last movie their lives and relationship has developed and changed. Their lives have moved from the windswept romantic chance meeting, to a familiar long-term couple who suffer their partner’s idiosyncrasies.
It’s actually difficult to watch in parts and you feel like the romantic travellers you’ve grown to love have been sullied by time. However, this movie is so important to the series for this very reason. No matter how these two argue, how their ‘life baggage’ effects them, how their familiarity with each other has broken down walls or how their personalities can clash, at the end of the day they love each other and are perfect and meant to be.
I was once told, by a very wonderful man, that it’s imperfections that make a person perfect. And this movie illustrates that in a great way.
If you like independent movies, you’re a fan of a different kind of romance film or you love to people watch then I’d recommend these movies to you. Go watch them!