Bursting on the scene in 1991 with the indie hit Slacker, Richard Linklater has since carved himself a nice niche in the realm of film with movies like A Scanner Darkly, Dazed and Confused, and The Bad News Bears...okay forget the last one I just said. Linklater is an indie darling, the man who inspired Kevin Smith to make movies. While I say that, I do not necessarily like the guy. Slacker, Waking Life, Bad News Bears, and even Dazed and Confused to an extent are movies that I can barely sit through without me wanting to rip my eyes out. This week on Watch This!, though, I want to talk about a Linklater film that not only I like, but that helped influenced the hopeless romantic inside me: Before Sunrise. Roll the trailer!
Ethan Hawke stars as Jesse, a 20 something American who is riding the trains in Europe, killing time before catching a plane back to the States. While attempting to read his book, he looks over and catches the eyes of Celine (Julie Delpy) a French 20 something also on the train. Jesse decides to talk to her, and they spend the train ride discussing aspects of their lives...until Jesse's stop. Through some sort of connection they both feel, Jesse compels Celine to get off with him and spend the night walking around Vienna and continuing the conversation they started on the train.

That's all Before Sunrise is: a conversation shot almost in real time between two intellectual young people as they experience the sights and sounds of Vienna. That's all there is to it, and to be honest, that's all there is to it in a lot of Linklater films: non-stop diatribes about intellectual subjects. While other films of that ilk tend to scream of self indulgence and know it all annoyance, Before Sunrise transcends that and through their conversations, we as an audience watch a love story unfold in a matter of hours. This is a love at first sight movie that actually feels authentic, unlike say any John Cusack movie that has ever existed ever in the history of ever.

The dialogue is sharp and Hawke and Delpy have a great on-screen chemistry, even when Delpy's accent gets a little tiring (remind me to fall for a British woman instead). You can feel their connection and feel when they are falling in love and all that good jazz. Along with Reality Bites, Hawke made himself a hipster darling in an age when the phrase "hipster darling" did not exist. Vienna is beautiful and serves as a great backdrop to the story.

Before Sunrise is a movie that hipsters everywhere who want to wish love was really like this should watch. Hell, it'll even make us cold-hearted realists go "you know, maybe love can be this awesome". Buy it on Amazon, or rent it on Netflix.

-Jonathan Sullivan



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