Last week I indulged with Richard Linklater’s critically acclaimed “Before” Trilogy. The first, “Before Sunrise” filmed in Vienna, 1995 follows Jesse (a very young Ethan Hawke), a young American man, and Céline (French singer/actress Julie Delpy) , a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and getting to know and falling in love with each other. Spoiler Alert: In”Before Sunset”(2004) the second of the trilogy, they reconnect nine years later and walk around Paris rediscovering each other. And nine years later in “Before Midnight”(2013) we are watching our middle-aged protagonists walk around a small Greek Island trying to figure out each other and their marriage . It’s probably just me but I wish I had enough years left to actually watch the films nine years apart. By the third one I no longer found our protagonists particularly endearing. Some of the scenes felt like “Oh so this is how rich arty types sit around and talk” . Their conflicts are real but the characters just seem white privileged, self-serving and annoying. That said, the films are worth watching if only for the way Linklater creates a sense of spontaneity in what feels like an unscripted dialogue between characters. The long camera shots as the two walk about, the scenery, and the chemistry between the two, do give the trilogy an edge over less ambitious but similarly themed movies. If you are in the mood for well-crafted escapism, grab an eclair (I ate chocolate cheesecake) and start watching.
Richard Linklater’s “Before” Trilogy (Amazon)