How exactly do you go about reviewing a movie that features nothing whatsoever? A film that has no real premise outside of a few lines that culminate in a whole story. The naturalistic flow of the movie paves the way, rather than a strict formula of storytelling. Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise is the very essence of romantic, auteur cinema.
A striking chemistry between the ever-incredible Ethan Hawke and the equally as talented Julie Delpy lead to one of the most unique and charming love stories imaginable. The two have such an importantly perfect chemistry that the movie manages to stay alive and fresh just by being centred on these two characters. For a film to hit so many different chords of competency with just two cast members is a certainly incredible feat.
Mixed in with the talented direction of Linklater, the performances of Hawke and Delpy feel more like natural strangers coming together for a night of romance than of forced complacency. It manages to transcend itself sometimes, easily mistaken for reality, the calling card of any truly great movie.
It’s of course not perfect, limited somewhat by how much you’re willing to go along with the perfect romantic’s idea and for how long you would like to see that. Personally, I enjoyed it, and seeing Hawke and Delpy together made the film all the better since the two have such rare chemistry with one another.
What surprises me most though is the ability to create a movie about two characters we’ve never met before and have them so quickly become uniquely interesting. The writing is beautiful, truly spectacular and the tiny details along the way that you’ll miss on your first viewing only add that extra flavour on repeat watches. It’s so incredibly well done, two strangers learning about one another as the audience do as well.
Before Sunrise is amazing, a landmark of the romantic genre; it isn’t without flaw, but the flaws don’t come from the main cast or the direction. They come from personal niggles with the pacing, the stylistic and macabre look at love and life. But they can be overlooked for some very enjoyable storytelling experiences, an experience that I’ll remember and cherish somewhat. Hawke, Linklater and Delpy have created something truly wonderful here.