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Before Sunrise (1995)
Before Sunrise is a 1995 romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American, and Céline (Julie Delpy), a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and getting to know each other. The plot is minimalist, since aside from walking and talking, not much happens. The two characters' ideas and perspectives on life and love are detailed. Jesse is a romantic disguised as a cynic, and Céline is seemingly a romantic, albeit with some doubts. Taking place over the course of one night, their limited time together is always on their minds, and leads to their revealing more about themselves than they normally would, since both believe they will never see one another again. Jesse and Céline make an appearance in Linklater's 2001 film Waking Life. A 2004 sequel, Before Sunset, picks up the story nine years after the events of the first film. The film starts with Jesse meeting Céline on a train from Budapest and striking up a conversation with her.
I have scarcely seen such genuine emotion portrayed on the screen, and the blooming romance between the two actors is absolutely believable. Unfortunately, often the dialogue is not. The hallmark of any Linklater film, people talk out of character as often as not, causing a number of the vignettes to fail with the audience. Also, the film's gruelingly slow pace made me check my watch far too many times. Thankfully these flaws don't detract from the film overmuch, but there are a few blemishes on this otherwise nice work.
As usual with a Linklater film, the Austin press has embraced Before Sunrise as a masterpiece. Don't believe everything you hear.