Sunday, 10 November 2013

Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise -  Richard Linklater – An American man (‘Jesse’-Ethan Hawke) meets a French student  (‘Celine’ – Julie Delpy) on a train and the two impulsively spend a day and evening together rather than allowing their coincidental meeting to disappear as spontaneously as it arrived. It is a situation that most of us, at some point, have encountered. However, unlike the film, such moments most commonly arise and disappear as idle daydreams, only to be later lingered over with wistful ‘what ifs?’ and the yearning nostalgia of missed opportunity. The film is essentially one long conversation between the two frank and excitable romantics. It unashamedly follows the same uncompromising existentialism and honesty that the anonymity of strangers, mixed with flirtatious enigma, can so often forgive without doubt or reproach. No knowledge of their separate lives before that meeting, no expectations of what their characters should or shouldn’t say: it is a liberating coincidence that Jesse is determined to capitalize upon-while Celine, in broad strokes of open minded European contemplation-is willing to entertain. The script is fantastic, relatable and humourous – recalling the wit and verbose nature of Linklater’s less narrative film Slacker. However, there are moments when the unbroken flow of cozy existentialism and soul baring become irritating and exhausting. It is often in moments of silence (awkward moves to kiss in a recording sound booth, or simply sitting in the early hours in a dilapidated alley) that the relationship becomes genuinely moving. As a brave exercise in uncompromising script, and with an original flare for dialogue over narrative, the film is an engaging and individual portrayal of romance and the excitement of what could be. 7/10

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