Comedy #14: “Before Sunrise” (1995) & “Before Sunset” (2004)
Boy meets girl. And they talk. That’s it. That’s the whole plot of “Before Sunrise,” Richard Linklater’s 1995 ode to romance. Ok, there is a lot of walking as well, as two strangers meet by chance in Vienna and decide to see the city before their respective trains leave in the morning. We then get to watch the couple, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, get to know each other in (almost) real time. It is honest and awkward and sweet, and the chemistry between the two is palpable.
So much so that Linklater, Hawke and Delpy got together a decade later to see what happened to the pair. This time, a chance encounter in Paris reveals that the night in Vienna was a life-altering affair for both. “Before Sunset” is more bittersweet but resonates with a knowing confidence of what its like to be in love.
Of course, the big news is that the trio decided to make this set a trilogy, and plan to check in on the couple another decade later. “Before Midnight” comes out this summer, after being secretly filmed at the end of 2012. It is a huge risk for the director and two actors, but one which — like their characters — they are willing to take.