Recently, a while back, someone on Twitter asked if they should watch the “Before Trilogy,” to which I enthusiastically replied, “YES!!!” Okay, it wasn’t with that much zeal, since I didn’t want to come across all stalkery.
I couldn’t believe that someone hadn’t watched the trilogy, or, at the very least the first film: Before Sunrise. That movie was the fairy tale love story of my generation. Well… Maybe not my generation, but certainly of my address.
I remembered that I had written about the trilogy last year, but I was waiting for three days in a row when I had nothing else going on to post them. (Consider this fair warning.) When I found the time, I realized that what I had written wasn’t all that wonderful. (I am well aware.) So, I did my best to whip them into shape, and now I present them to you.
I won’t spoil the first film for those handful of people who haven’t seen it. I will have spoilers in parts two and three, since it will be difficult to discuss those films without the context of Before Sunrise.
Before Sunrise is a simple story, and it’s one of the oldest stories known: Boy meets Girl. Unlike “rom coms,” this film is not the least bit saccharin or stupid. Jesse and Celine “meet cute,” but that’s just a starting point, or a “jumping off” point, since they met on a train. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) convinces Celine (Julie Delpy) to depart the train in Vienna, and spend his last night in Europe with him. Jesse is low on funds and cannot afford a hotel room, so his plan was to wander about the city until it was time to catch his flight in the morning.
This “ticking clock” aspect was a clever idea by screenwriters Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan, since it raises the stakes. Jesse tells Celine that if she doesn’t join him, they may never see each other again, and she will wonder “What if?” for the rest of her life. Needless to say, she joins him.
Jesse is a very Nineties male, in that he has a soft romantic center that is covered by a hard, cynical shell. In a way, I am still like that even though I consider myself a product of the Eighties. I guess that is the person I had to become in order to survive the Nineties. I don’t want to be this way; it’s no fun.
The way the film was shot by cinematographer Lee Daniel, it’s almost as if you are right there with Jesse and Celine, eavesdropping on their conversation; an unseen third wheel if you will. And Vienna has never looked as wonderous. That being said, I have never been, to Vienna, Austria; Vienna, Georgia on the other hand–not so wonderous. No offense. Also, the only other experience I have with Vienna, Austria is The Third Man, which I also adore.
I was rooting for Jesse ’cause I’m a dude, and I don’t begrudge other people their happiness; especially fictional characters. So. How did it turn out for our couple? Wait nine years and you’ll find out.