Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert
Director: Richard Linklater
Running Time: 101 mins
Before Sunrise is an American film about a young man and woman who meet on a train across Europe, and then spend a night talking as they walk around the city of Vienna, falling in love before they must part forever.
Bringing to life the real sensation of falling in love, Before Sunrise is simply put one of the best romance films ever made. With deeply touching drama, a genuine and heartfelt screenplay, a beguiling style and two wonderful performances, watching this film is like living a dream.
So many films aim to uncover the true nature of love, but few actually allow love to run its course naturally. Before Sunrise, however, does just that. With a perfectly-plotted screenplay that allows for an organic and moving tale of romance, this film does more than uncover what love is, but makes you fall in love too.
Capturing the real sensation of falling in love is nearly impossible, yet this film does it with style. Its down-to-earth, minimalist approach means that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s one-night romance can run its course without the interruptions of manufactured, melodramatic Hollywood drama.
Before Sunrise doesn’t find dramatic power in the ups and downs of a relationship, but in what brings that relationship to life. In that, the film follows its two leads strolling through the Austrian capital discussing life, love and everything in between, discovering one another through their conversations in the way that normal, real people do.
The film is extremely dialogue-heavy, but the organic, genuine nature of the screenplay makes that work. Before Sunrise doesn’t pretend to be some grandiose, life-changing insight into the real meaning of life and love, but rather a window into a dreamlike evening spent between two young people falling for one another.
And in that, by avoiding the melodrama of a topsy-turvy romance, Before Sunrise is so much more powerful, intimate and emotionally immersive than almost any other love story ever made.
Director Richard Linklater lends the film a perfect, dreamlike atmosphere, with patient pacing and a fantastic use of setting. Coupled with its beautiful screenplay and the gorgeously genuine performances by Hawke and Delpy, Before Sunrise is a truly magical film.
It’s not a romantic drama full of heightened emotion, but a mellow and entirely real depiction of falling in love. It’s powerfully touching and utterly enthralling from start to finish, and it uniquely captures the true sensation of falling in love, bringing you into what feels like the perfect dream playing out before your very eyes.
Before Sunrise is a masterpiece of cinema, showing the potential power in even the smallest and calmest tales of love. And that’s why I’m giving it an 8.7 overall.