Review courtesy of Our Golden Age.
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On a train bound for Vienna, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) lock eyes across the carriage. Jesse is an American, traveling alone around Europe. Céline is French, and returning to university in Paris after visiting her grandmother. The two get to talking, and just as the train is pulling in to Vienna, Jesse convinces Céline to disembark with him there and explore the city. Whilst wandering the streets and landmarks of Vienna for the day, Jesse and Céline talk about anything and everything, discussing love, life, religion, the city, and even the mating habits of monkeys and spiders. But Jesse has a flight to catch back to the States and Céline must return to her studies in Paris. Will the two ever meet again? (Spoiler alert: if you’re familiar with Richard Linklater’s filmography, you’ll know the answer.)
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE THIS FILM?
This is where it all began. Linklater fans have followed Jesse and Céline’s love story for longer than it took the director to make Boyhood. Sequels Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight(2013) follow a similar conversational style and have been equally as successful. As the film is almost entirely dialogue between a man and a woman, Linklater knew it was crucial to recruit a strong woman co-writer. Kim Krizan, who had small roles in Linklater’s previous films Slacker and Dazed and Confused, worked with Linklater to write the screenplay in 11 days. The idea was inspired by an experience that Linklater himself had, when he met a woman in a toy store in Philadelphia and later walked around the city with her, talking deep into the night. Sadly, in 2010 he found out that the woman had died in a motorcycle accident before Before Sunrise had even been released.