Spend a Romantic Night in Vienna with “Before Sunrise”


Although the plot is simple, “Before Sunrise” is filled with beautiful simplicity and enthralling dialogue between Jesse and Celine (Courtesy of Instagram).

I wouldn’t consider myself a romantic person, but there is something about “Before Sunrise” that hits me just the right way. The film, directed and co-written by Richard Linklater, follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) after they meet on a train in Europe. The two instantly connect and decide to spend the night together wandering around the streets of Vienna, Austria.

That’s really all the film is — two romantics in their early 20s exploring a city together. While some movies need a grand supervillain or an unexpected twist, “Before Sunrise” simply  does not. The movie’s plot is in its dialogue following Jesse and Celine in their conversations about  life, love and much more as they get to know each other. 

Their conversations are nothing short of enthralling. Linklater’s use of long, uninterrupted steadicam shots makes it feel like you are in Vienna with Jesse and Celine. There is no fancy camera work or cinematography. The movie is shot in an incredibly simple way, which allows  the viewer to fully focus on the relationship between Jesse and Celine.

“Before Sunrise” has so many things going for it. For one, the on-screen chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is maybe the best I have ever seen. They are lovably awkward as strangers in the beginning, before transforming into two people with genuine chemistry. Linklater and Kim Krizan’s screenplay is electric. In order for dialogue to carry an entire movie, it has to be really good. The writing is exactly that.

To me though, the best part of “Before Sunrise” is the overall atmosphere that Linklater creates. I wanted to be able to live in this movie. It takes place on a perfect June evening in a city that is both relaxing and bustling in culture. The tone of the movie is incredibly chill and laid back. Not once is there a hint of serious conflict. If there ever was a perfect “comfort movie,” this is it. 

At no point does the movie cut away from the two love interests. Their budding relationship is the entire story. There is no comic relief or funny quips from side characters. Just Jesse and Celine, who are young, confused and in love in the best way. When you spend an entire movie watching just two people, you get to know them on a level that goes beyond the typical movie. The good, the bad and the ugly of both characters are on full display. But that’s what makes “Before Sunrise” more grounded than most romance movies. These are characters who are whole and fully developed.

Jesse and Celine perfectly embody the beauty of human connection. When two young people who are full of ideas and instantly “click,” the result is magnificent. That’s what “Before Sunrise” is at its core. Genuine human connection is a rare thing. Getting to see it play out so perfectly over the course of an entire movie is one of the best watching experiences you can have.

While I will always be a sucker for a good romantic comedy like “Notting Hill” or “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Before Sunrise” is by far my favorite romance movie of all time. In fact, the only movies that come close are its two sequels, “Before Sunset” (2004) and “Before Midnight” (2013). These movies are equally as magical as the first and pick up with Jesse and Celine nine and 18 years after their first meeting. In fact, I believe the so-called “Before Trilogy” deserves to be in the same conversation as “The Godfather” or “The Lord of the Rings” as the best trilogy of all time. If you’re looking for something to watch on a rainy day, I can’t recommend “Before Sunrise” enough.