Before Sunrise (1995)

Wish I had more first encounters like this.

This film from director Richard Linklater stars Ethan Hawke as an American backpacker who strikes up a conversation with a lovely fellow traveler (Julie Delpy) on the train to Vienna and persuades her to spend his last day in Europe with him. Wandering the picturesque streets of the Austrian capital, the two share stories of their pasts and their dreams for the future, ultimately forging a bond that leads to love.

Writer and director Richard Linklater really does know how to show real emotions, between humans on screen. Although Dazed and Confused may be more of a comical way of showing it, this is the more serious, and romantic way.

The script is basically superb in all the right ways. The film starts off a bit awkward with talks here and there about philosophies, but nothing special, but then these two start to get an actual feel for each other and that is when things start to pick up. I love the fact that these two talked about life, love, and the great big city of Vienna, and just how they want their life to be something but somehow just isn’t.

Not much happens here, but just these two walking and talking about a lot of things, and there are plenty of philosophies that are brought up, but never do they feel forced out on us or used in a preachy way. In a way this actually made me think more about the world I live in where people expect me to do something, and have this huge understanding of what I’m going to do next, and you feel like everything is so planned. Why not take risks sometimes? And why not do something that may change your outlook on life, or possibly something that may change your life forever because you went with your gut-feeling? Many themes are brought up, and this insightful script gives us a beautiful glimpse into these two people’s minds as they discover that love is something more powerful and rich when you least expect it. The human nature really is a beautiful thing, and this film is an examination of that and how this a relationship is something we all want, but to often sadly see slip away. It’s such a shame that this is more true than some would actually expect, but listening to these two talk about love, and everything else in between, I realized that there’s so much more to the huge, transient universe we live in.

I think my only problem here is that I do wish I was older to actually fully understand everything that these two are talking about, so I could actually relate more to. But I think later on in life, I’ll check this out and it will have a bigger effect on me however I must say that I loved what I got here.

These two together right here are just downright amazing. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy may seem like polar opposites from the beginning but by the end of the film, they create what is one of the more realistic and believable romances I have ever seen on screen. Obviously, there is a lot of talking here, and that’s all it really is but these two create these perfectly textured three-dimensional characters that seem so real, that even with this short amount of time, you actually do believe they could make it all work and fall in love over night. I was so happy that I with these two throughout the whole night and listening and watching them talk, walk, sing, dance, and gaze at the beautiful sights of Vienna, just had me believe every part of this film, and just totally fall for these characters.

Consensus: Writer/Director Richard Linklater has created a perfect script about love, life, and the universe we live in, by putting it along with a perfectly acted romance from Hawke and Delpy, which culminates in being one of the most believable and lovely romances ever put on screen.

9.5/10=Full Pricee!!


  1. This is truly one of the best romantic films ever. I saw it when I was 15 on TV and really liked it. It was one of those first art films that I was really into. As I got older, it pretty much became one of my all-time favorite films along with its sequel Before Sunset which I believe had one of the greatest endings… ever.

    • I saw Before Sunset so long ago and I have that get back to that soon. It’s an amazing and gets better with age I think. Glad you liked it brah!

  2. This is one of my all time favorite films. Like you say, the conversations are great and it all feels very real. When it finishes you are left wondering what will happen to them when they meet again. Before sunset has the same great feel to it and I hope they will return to these two again in a couple of years for another movie.

  3. I just saw this movie for the second time last weekend and back to back with Before Sunset.

    The first time I saw it was years ago. I didn’t quite got it then. I guess I do agree that you have to be certain age or at least have gone through certain life experience to appreciate this movie. I certainly do now.

    And like another commentor here, I too love Before Sunset more. They did romance so well with just conversations.

    • The conversations work so well, and I couldn’t believe how much I actually believed everything that these two talked about, and how real it all seemed.

  4. The first time I saw Before Sunrise was back in the late 1990’s, and I really enjoyed it. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy is so incredible that you never get the sense that they
    ‘re acting.

    This combined with the beautiful and romantic scenery has the viewer projecting themselves into the movie, desperately wanting the two to stay together. However, reality finally sets in and they part after spending one of the most enchanting evenings in cinema history.

    A decade later the two actors meet again in the sequal, Before Sunset, where they pick up with their left off; this time with an even more fascinated audience, for those who saw the original movie.

    Before Sunset ends with Celine telling Jesse that he is going to miss his plane, and he just sits there looking at her in awe, and smiling, as he says he knows.

    Whether or not there will be a third movie is open to question.

    However, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset continue to earn loyal viewers who remain captivated by the thoughtful dialogue, and the incredible chemistry between Delphy and Hawke.

    This author would like to think that the second movie ended with the two of them spending the rest of their lives together, complimenting one another as they did during both their first and second meetings.

    These are rare movies in that both the casting and scripts are so superb that they stay with you longer after you’ve watched them.

    They reach deep inside us to stir up the romantic in all of us.

    – James

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