I just finished watching the 1995 film, Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke and Julie De. Some critics consider it one of the best romantic comedies. Well, it was fine, but I wonder how many romantic comedies those who rank it highly have seen. Before Sunrise follows two twenty-somethings who meet on a train and spontaneously decide to spend the day together in Vienna. The woman’s French and the man’s American. We see them talk, flirt, kiss and joke as they become more and more enamored with each other.
The problem I had was sometimes, since they were just in their 20s, their conversation wasn’t that engaging, rather it was the kind of talk that younger people think is engaging and fresh, but people have been chatting about for eons.
Hawke’s character seemed rather full of himself and aloof. Delpy’s character had more depth. Parts were engaging and then I’d get tired of watching and stop for a few days before starting up again. So for me it was like reading a passable novel and it’s not a good sign if you can put a book down for three days without feeling an urge to read more.
I do feel the characters blasé attitude towards staying in touch or their shilly shallying about meeting again made me lose interest. By the end of a romantic movie, viewers should believe that the two characters must be together. With Before Sunrise I felt: whatever, meet again or don’t. I figure you’re both destined to marry people you don’t connect with and later divorce before finding true love if you ever do. There is a sequel and I’m curious, very slightly, if that in fact is what happens. Both characters were experienced to know that it is rare to meet someone who really interests you, so their disinterest in putting more effort into extending their time together made me lose interest in the film. I would have liked to see more storytelling within the dialog, there’s some but it’s not on the level of My Dinner with André. Better storytelling may have won me over with this film.