Cine_Addict’s review published on Letterboxd:
Before Sunrise -:- The Spark
Put your sweet lips on my lips
We should just kiss
Like real people do”
Connection is a funny thing, it’s one of those things that varies depending on who you talk to. It comes in many forms and can mean many things to different extents, but deep down, I think our connections are what make us human. We connect with others on a daily basis, from people on public transport, to those that create the art we consume, to the people closest to us, it’s all relevant. But out of all those thousands of people we’ll connect with over our lifetime, just how many would you say we’ve really connected with?
I’m not talking about that one person you accidentally made eye contact with on a bus that one time last year, or that drunken stranger you helped into A&E one morning, however meaningful those experiences may be to you. I’m talking about someone just getting you. Not exactly picking you apart and seeing what ticks, no, just understanding you or just being on your wavelength. Personally, that sort of thing takes a lot, I’m a fairly introverted person unless I’ve been drinking. But I think I’ve experienced it, kind of. Anyway, that’s besides the point, what really matters is that I, and most other people, understand where this movie was written from.
Jesse and Celine and their connection are the backbone of this movie, without them and the organic chemistry they share, we wouldn’t have the masterpiece we have. Before Sunrise had to be believable, it’s that simple. If a friend talked to you and told you they’d lived the events of this film, you’d totally laugh them off, it’s entirely unbelievable. People meet on social media, or at the club, or at work, not on a random train running through Europe. As they say themselves, this story is reminiscent of fairytale, more likely to be fantasy than reality. But for one night, those lines, those barriers, disappear to let love run it’s course. And that’s why I love Before Sunrise.
This isn’t just a story about love, it’s a microcosm of everything human. Romance, conflict, loss, faith, among other things, it’s all fit together into this beautiful, hopeful, and yes, romantic, package. In under two hours, we watch two people meet and discuss everything from old relationships to the ghost of a dead grandmother, and through all that, what we’re left with is completely human and relatable. We’ve all had that connection at least once, at least I hope so, and we can tell that Richard Linklater has too. All of his films seem to have this deeply human root to them all, no matter what sort of story he’s telling, it’s like he’s experienced everything human besides death and he’s just meant to be an emotional encyclopaedia for us all.
If I were to list everything I individually love about this movie, you guys would be asleep by the time I get halfway through, I consider this a perfect movie. But when I watch films, it’s the emotional relatability that hooks me to them, that sort of bunch of shared experiences that make me feel like I’m seeing eye to eye with the filmmaker. The music booth scene reminds me of just how much you can grow closer to someone, romantically or not, through music. That scene on the grass with the wine is the perfect representation of that romantic intimacy you experience with a new person, wandering hands and all. The scene in the bar just reminds me of a place I usually drink at, the music and the decor. But the scene that I love most is towards the end.
The crisp twinkling of the harpsichord. The empty streets. The morning daylight. The faint, distant rumble of cars. That is the perfect encapsulation of the morning after the night before. It’s like 7am, suns up, you’re tired and messy haired, you’ve been up the whole night. Whether you’ve been out drinking or talking in depth with someone about life or exploring a city, you’re all experiencing that same feeling. Memories made, personality possibly slightly changed, like you’re at one with yourself for a short amount of time. It’s like an epiphany. That was a great night! I met some amazing people! Love might just exist! That’s all that matters then. You’ve met her or him or them and you’ve experienced life either romantically or otherwise. You are human and you’ve experienced the most human of emotional situations, connection. And it’s beautiful.