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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 20.31%
Average: 18.75%
Pretty Bad: 4.69%
Total Crap: 1.56%

4 reviews, 40 user ratings

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Before Sunrise
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jason Whyte

"If only I could meet Julie Delpy on a train..."
5 stars

"You know, I have this awful paranoid thought that feminism was mostly invented by men so that they could like, fool around a little more," says Celine, one of the two leads in one of Richard Linklater's best films, "Before Sunrise." This is a movie that contains long, witty conversations that are smart, well written, and absolutely realistic dialogue to support a one-night romantic encounter. To wit: what would happen if two people with different backgrounds wound up for just one night together? And no, I'm not talking about sex, but an encounter that changes both of the characters forever, and how both parties learn from the experience. "Before Sunrise" is so powerfully ethical, and it even works as a romantic comedy just the same.

The film opens on a train coming into Vienna. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is on his way home, origin unknown at first. He meets Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train and they both hit it off really quick. As Vienna hits, Jesse comes up with a crazy idea: since it is his last night before he flies home, what if Celine gets off the train with Jesse and just walks around town with him? Jesse woos Celine off the train, and as weird as it seems at first, the two begin to form a bond and they start to learn about one another.

"Before Sunrise" could have went in a hundred directions after this encounter, but the movie does something unique in romantic comedies: it focuses all aspects of their time together on conversation. There's no real "plot" here; guy meets girl, girl and guy like each other, they both spend time together and so on, but the most striking aspect of "Before Sunrise" is how the two people communicate as if people who were under these circumstances would talk. It works so well that we fall for both characters, and we as viewers will die to see them together, even if we know, and they know, that their night together will soon end. Linklater is very smart with his material here, to suggest everything that these two people may do before they part.

Both Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy deserve the highest regard for their work; both performers are absolutely natural here. Hawke has never been more relaxed and honest here, as a seemingly cocky but eager to please Jesse, and Delpy is amazing as girl who seems shy and distant at first but has her own views on life, love, and whatever they have to talk about. And Richard Linklater, who has done conversation movies like the teen gem "Dazed and Confused" and "Slacker," really likes Vienna, and gives the whole land a romantic and interesting view. Anyone who hasn't been to the city will also benefit from the sort of travelogue in the movie, too (you feel like you could travel there and sit atop the bridge Jesse and Celine looked over). This may not be one of the most beautiful movies ever made, but Linklater is honest about the way Vienna looks, and he shows it.

Call it what you want. Date film. Think piece. For the guys, your girlfriend will adore you for watching this, and you get to look at the lovely and talented Julie Delpy. Girls, your guy will get wrapped up in the characters as much as you will. (And check out Ethan Hawke in the process.) "Before Sunrise" will not fail to either party; this is one of the best romantic comedies ever made.

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originally posted: 04/08/04 16:49:28
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

9/25/13 David Hollingsworth simple, but brilliantly honest 5 stars
8/05/13 Jon All fluff and no depth 2 stars
9/28/12 Quigley Arguably the most romantic film ever made. Who wouldn't want this to happen to them? 5 stars
6/11/11 Jack Lantern Great film, and the sequel is even better. 5 stars
4/11/10 Cctv9 Great job! 5 stars
10/11/08 Annie G A must see for fans of ‘Before Sunset’ but expect to be mildly disappointed. 3 stars
9/15/08 MightyMichael Reid I loved it and it is the perfect romantic movie cannot wait to see the third one! 5 stars
5/04/07 Bunty To me, the movie was convincingly 'ordinary', perhaps our critic was expecting a melodrama 4 stars
3/17/07 Double M Boring?! stick to Van Damme movies, kids. This's a WONDERFUL romance about realistic people 5 stars
11/18/06 Indrid Cold Hard to imagine that anyone could make a better indie romance. 5 stars
8/15/06 wanderson i didn't like that movie, because people spoke all time, so it's so bad! 2 stars
11/26/05 NepruSmelu Mantalk about boring! Maybe I am to old but the dialogue was banal at best. Overated! 2 stars
11/19/05 Lisa Jochelson Good movie, you must be sober and not tired to watch this movie 3 stars
8/08/05 yuko great conversation and discussion of the two of them 5 stars
5/02/05 J K Rowling a little dull and boring 3 stars
1/26/05 Evimeleth Beautiful, enchanting, and fulfilling. A must see. 5 stars
12/15/04 Marce -This- is what poets mean when they use the word "love". 5 stars
12/02/04 Erin Waldrop Lots of talk but not bad. 4 stars
11/13/04 Monday Morning I haven't seen it but I think it's probably awesome. 5 stars
8/02/04 Ryan Semi-interesting, but some of Linklater's philosophical suggestiveness doesn't impress. 3 stars
6/25/04 Ray I dont really care so much for romance, but this is excellent 5 stars
4/03/04 Michael The finest, most intelligent and thoughtful film ever made. A true work of art 5 stars
3/28/04 john not exactly a cornerstone of romantic movies but nicely done 3 stars
3/17/04 Atanu Not very intelligent, posey, no wonder some people like it. 1 stars
1/24/04 daniela camero i love this movie! 5 stars
4/08/03 Ondra My favourite 5 stars
2/08/03 natasha_theobald unpredictable romance not afraid to be ambiguous, if not at times tedious 4 stars
1/21/03 tina excellent 5 stars
8/17/02 Dark Barøn Yep, it's romantic alright. 4 stars
7/10/02 Joffee exellent 5 stars
5/20/02 CJ One of the best romantic movies I've seen. 5 stars
4/04/02 KB The more I see it, the more I love it!! 5 stars
11/27/01 sdfr Two strangers fall in love in Vienna. Memorable 5 hanky weeper posing as art house romance. 4 stars
12/28/00 Andrew Trigg Touching film that should appeal to anyone who's not totally cynical! 5 stars
10/18/00 nam one of my favorites 5 stars
8/24/00 Michael Middleton A smart, touching film. One of the most emotionally honest movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
8/09/00 lina cheaply made film full of love, life, beauty , laughter and uncertainty 4 stars
7/02/99 Sleeper Anyone want to run away to europe with me? Vienna is to die for. 4 stars
4/12/99 Randall Perfect modern day romance 5 stars
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  27-Jan-1995 (R)


  02-Feb-1996 (M)

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