Directed By: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert
Tag line: "Can the greatest romance of your life last only one night?"
Trivia: The Ferris wheel Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy ride in Vienna is the same one used in The Third Man and The Living Daylights
In contrast to the movie romances we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on the big screen, Before Sunrise gives us a version of “love at first sight” as it might actually play out in real life.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American traveling abroad, meets Celine (Julie Delpy), a French student, while on a train to Paris. As they talk, the pair find themselves increasingly attracted to one another, and he invites her to spend the evening with him in Vienna, his last before returning to the States the following morning. Against the backdrop of this beautiful city, they share a fun-filled night learning all they can about each other, from past love affairs to future ambitions. Jesse and Celine grow closer as the hours slip away, and soon saying goodbye proves more difficult than either imagined it would be.
The relationship that develops between the main characters in Before Sunrise is rooted not in physical attraction, but conversation. Shortly after hooking up on the train, Jesse asks Celine to join him in the dining car, where they can enjoy a meal together as they engage in some small talk. But it isn't long before this 'small talk' evolves into something more substantial. In fact, they're so engrossed in their chitchat that they don't realize until much later they don’t know each others first names! Hawke and Delpy's chemistry is nothing short of amazing; in their hands, dialogue that could have easily sounded like the pretentious ramblings of a pair of twenty-somethings is instead a fascinating give and take between two people desperate to uncover everything they can about one another.
Before Sunrise is the account of a couple of strangers who become friends, and a couple of friends who become lovers. We’re witnesses to the initial spark, as well as the resulting fire that blossoms into love, and because we were there to see it grow, we're just as warmed by it as they are.