1995 | 101 minutes | Rated R
Ethan Hawke plays Jesse; Julie Delpy plays Celine—together they are perhaps the most honestly romantic couple you will ever see on screen. Their meeting alone is perfectly casual: On a train to Vienna, Jesse, an American on the last leg of his journeys, strikes up a conversation with the very French Celine. That's it; they don't meet cute and there's no improbable banter—they just chat and joke and lightly confess to each other. What's great about these early moments, and what immediately elevates Before Sunrise far above your standard romance fare, is how ordinary it all seems. This is one of those rare fantasies that most of us can believe in, perhaps one we've even lived through ourselves. Not only does Jesse and Celine's conversation flow splendidly, they also feel true as characters. She's reading Georges Bataille's My Mother and he feigns like he knows it; leading her to the lounge car, he gives the door a macho punch to open it, then puffs his chest out as he lets her pass. This is how most guys would act when presented with such a situation. We can't help it.
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