: : : Before Sunrise

Story

This romantic, witty and ultimately poignant glimpse at two strangers (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) who share thoughts, affections, and past experiences during one 14-hour tryst in Vienna somehow remains writer/director Richard Linklater's (Dazed and Confused, Slacker) most overlooked gem. Delpy, a stunning, low-key Parisian, meets the stammering American Hawke, as the two share a Eurorail seat--she's starting school in Paris, he's finishing a vacation. Their mutual attraction leads to an awkward meeting (beautifully played by each performer), and Hawke suggests that Delpy spend his remaining 14 hours in Vienna with him.

Typically, this skeleton is as much plot as Linklater provides; as usual, he's more interested in concentrating his talents on observing the casual, playful conversations between his leads. His tight time frame allows the characters to say anything to one another, and topics ranging from politics to past romances to fears of the future flow with subtle finesse. The short time frame is also cruel, however, because beneath this love affair lies the painful reality that the two most likely will never see each other again and will be left only with memories--an idea Linklater drives home with an effective snapshot conclusion.

Hardly the trite Gen-X bitch session that many '90s films using this approach become, the film feels more like a Bresson or Rohmer piece, containing sharp perceptions--and flawed humans rather than stereotypes. The protagonists' frank revelations and heated exchanges flow in a stream-of-consciousness style, and its no accident that Linklater set the film in Vienna, where Freud invented and practiced psychotherapy. --Dave McCoy

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Dolby
  • Widescreen

Cast

Ethan HawkeJesse
Julie DelpyCeline
Andrea EckertWife on Train
Hanno PöschlHusband on Train
Karl BruckschwaigerGuy on Bridge
Tex RubinowitzGuy on Bridge
Erni MangoldPalm Reader
Dominik CastellStreet Poet
Haymon Maria ButtingerBartender
Harald WaigleinGuitarist in Club
Bilge JeschimBelly Dancer
KurtiPercussionist
Hans WeingartnerCafe Patron
Liese LyonCafe Patron
Peter Ily HuemerCafe Patron
Otto ReiterCafe Patron
Hubert Fabian KultererCafe Patron
Branko AndricCafe Patron
Constanze SchweigerCafe Patron
John SlossCafe Patron
Alexandra SeibelCafe Patron
Georg SchöllhammerCafe Patron
Christian AnkowitschCafe Patron
Wilbirg ReiterCafe Patron
Barbara KlebelMusician on Boat
Wolfgang StaribacherMusician on Boat
Wolfgang GlüxamHarpsichord Player

8.0

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  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Producer: Warner Brothers
  • Length: 105 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJan 27, 1995
    EuropeApr 20, 1995
    AustraliaMay 18, 1995
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaNov 6, 2001
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