Have you heard of the movie “Before Sunrise”?
There are some movies that need no introduction; they’re so ingrained in the public conscious that mentioning their name will yield an acknowledgement of familiarity, at least to their name and genre.
The “Before” series of movies does not have such recognition (I think anyway). They’re small films directed by Richard Linklater and released in 1995, 2004, and 2013. Their settings are each 9 years apart, just like their release dates, and the plots take place over the course of a few hours.
The movies are all identified as romantic dramas, and they absolutely are that, but they’re so. Much. More. There’s a sense of playfulness and naivety in the dialogue of the first movie, a sense of greater maturity and understanding in the second, and weariness in the third. These movies effectively “grow up” as we follow along the lives of Jesse, played by Ethan Hawke, and Céline, played by Julie Delpy.
While I won’t get into the detailed plots of the movies, I can, at least, quickly state the premise of the first one.
Before Sunrise (1995) follows Jesse as he strikes up a conversation with a fellow train passenger, Céline. The two decide to get off at the next station and walk around town, talking and discussing their perspectives on life and love.
That’s it. There’s no grand conflict, no antagonist (except time), it’s just two characters walking and talking for about an hour and 40 minutes. It is a very talkative movie, but so earnest and full of, yes, optimism and love.
The mere knowledge of knowing that the next two films, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, exist is already spoiler territory, so I won’t say much more than that both sequels exhibit a great growth in maturity, perspective and grace.
... Alright maybe not grace, Jesse can be pretty clumsy. In any case, if you’re looking for something a little bit pretentious, a lotta bit earnest, and full of heart, check out the “Before -” series of movies. It goes Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight.
Apologies for the short post, I'm gearing up to head back home which means long (14 hours) drives. Not sure if I can get something out the next couple of days, but we'll see. Part 2 of the Emil series will be out on Sunday or Monday.