Before Sunrise (1995) / Drama-Romance

MPAA Rated: R for sexuality and language
Running Time: 105 min.

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg (cameo)
Director: Richard Linklater

Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan

Before Sunrise is one of those hidden gems that, if you are in the mood for an insightful, romantic film, is well worth seeking out in your local video store.  It tells a very simple story of two young people from different cultures getting to know one another, and although the two only know each other less than a day (of which we see less than two hours of screen time), when they express feelings toward one another it smacks of unquestionable genuineness.

Ethan Hawke (Reality Bites, Mystery Date) plays Jesse, an American vacationing in Europe who meets Celine (Delpy, Broken Flowers), a French graduate student, while traveling on a train.  They strike up a conversation, and the mutual chemistry is evident immediately.  The problem is that it's Jesse's last night in Europe and the two may never see each other again.  Jesse convinces Celine to hang out with him on his final day so she won't spend the rest of her life wondering if they were a match or just a passing fancy. 

This is quite a feat for director Richard Linklater (The School of Rock, Bad News Bears), who relies on two appealing yet not altogether popular stars to carry the film on their shoulders alone, which they do brilliantly.  This film is also bolstered by some nice location work in Vienna, a script that is smarter than would appear on the surface, and convincing performances by the two very appealing leads, all contributing to making this one of the best of 1995.  Before Sunrise is highly recommended for those into romantic films without pretension who, like the two passing young people in Vienna, will wish that the night never had to end.

-- Followed by Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013)

Qwipster's rating: 

©2000 Vince Leo