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  Before Sunrise We Need To Talk
Year: 1995
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Andrea Eckert, Hanno Pöschl, Karl Bruckschwaiger, Tex Rubinowitz, Erni Mangold, Dominik Castell, Haymon Maria Buttinger, Harald Waiglein, Bilge Jeschim, Hans Weingartner, Liese Lyon, Peter Ily Heumer, Otto Reiter, John Sloss
Genre: RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Celine (Julie Delpy) is on the train to Vienna, intending to continue on to her home in Paris where she is a student, when a couple near her begin arguing. She cannot be bothered with that hassle, and besides she's trying to concentrate on her book, so she grabs her luggage and moves down the carriage away from the disruption. However, as she sits and resumes reading the couple barge down the aisle and into the next carriage, which prompts Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an American holidaying across Europe, to ask her what they were arguing about. She doesn't know, but they get to chatting...

And oh how they chatted in this indie romance from director Richard Linklater, co-scripted by himself and Kim Krizan, a film which few had any great hopes for back in 1995, indeed the general reaction was nice idea, but not enough to sustain it. Those dismissing the movie were somehow not seeing what the generation around the same age as Jesse and Celine were seeing, that this was a simple but very effective creation which spoke to them at their point in life as few other, far more pandering works did. Who didn't want to meet someone on holiday who might just be their soulmate, against all the odds of any two people meeting at all in this world?

The central conceit was one which appealed to Linklater, a director who liked to hear his characters talk, at great length if need be, and it was to have the couple meet, click, then have Jesse persuade Celine to jump off the train at the Viennese station and spend the rest of the night wandering the streets before he caught his flight home, just to see where the night would take them. They're both taking a chance as they've barely known one another for an hour, but she agrees and soon it's the Austrian capital that is our main set, with that initial awkwardness stemming from the "what the hell am I doing?" questions running through their heads evaporating when they both acknowledge the other person is someone they genuinely would like to get to know.

That this was never less than convincing, not quite in a documentary fashion but more in reaching for a dramatic truth, was testament to the chemistry of the two stars. Considering most of the movie was simply them interacting and tentatively moving towards a romance they know wouldn't have a hope of developing, the more they talk the more that dialogue becomes addictive, so much so that when they are interrupted for whatever reasons you begin to crave the next scene to see where the next tangent of conversation will lead. There were other characters, but they hoved into view for a minute or two, be they a palm reader, two guys advertising their bizarre-sounding play, or a poet who concocts a poem for them, yet we knew who was important.

Linklater and Krizan captured an interaction here that resonated in a way that many a romcom would not have even ventured towards, and it was a lot funnier than many of those too although it was not a comedy. From Jesse's rejection of reincarnation on the grounds that there are more souls on Earth than there have ever been, so where did all the extra ones appear from? to Celine's instigation of a pretend phone call to their friends about what they would really say about the object of their newfound affection (revealing Delpy has a very strange way of approximating the international hand gesture of the phone) it was a pleasure to hear these two ramble around the points they were making and reach a deeper understanding than many couples do in a year. Obviously recasting a sort of My Dinner with Andre as a romance was not going to appeal to everyone, yet for those this connected with it was the sort of premise they could relate to, a wish fulfilment movie for those who believed in love's fortune and luck. But the story did not end there...
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Richard Linklater  (1960 - )

Skilled indie director, specialising in dialogue-driven comedy-drama. Linklater's 1989 debut Slacker was an unusual but well-realised portrait of disaffected 20-something life in his home town of Austin, Texas, while many consider Dazed and Confused, his warm but unsentimental snapshot of mid-70s youth culture, to be one of the best teen movies ever made. Linklater's first stab at the mainstream - comedy western The Newton Boys - was a disappointment, but Before Sunrise, SubUrbia, Tape and the animated Waking Life are all intelligent, intriguing pictures.

Scored a big hit with mainstream comedy School of Rock, and reunited with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for the acclaimed sequels Before Sunset and Before Midnight. The Bad News Bears was a weak comedy remake, but Linklater bounced back with the animated Philip K. Dick adaptation A Scanner Darkly, junk food industry satire Fast Food Nation and true life murder tale Bernie. His intimate epic Boyhood, filmed over twelve years, earned him some of the most acclaim of his career. The nostalgic follow-up Everybody Wants Some!! was less of a hit.

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