Before Sunrise (1995); Before Sunset (2004); Before Midnight (2013): Featuring Ethan Hawke & Julie Deply
There is no simple way to describe how outstanding this trilogy is (note that I’ve been trying to write this post since the summer). While it is clear that the best way to enjoy these films is in the correct order, I ended up viewing the third, then the first and finally the second. It wasn’t on purpose, that’s just the order in which I found out each existed. Clearly I wasn’t on my movie A game. Regardless, in whichever order you view them, you won’t be disappointed.
These minimalistic films are amazing because of just that: their simplicity. The dialogue is easy and the characters relatable. We see Ethan Hawke grow from a dirty college student traveling abroad with a dream of becoming a writer, to a father and novelist who continues to travel abroad. Deply’s character is similar, in that we first see her as a shy university student, who then blossoms into a mother of twin girls, while also finding herself at a career crossroads. Seeing the timeline of their lives is one of my favorite themes of this trilogy.
The lapse in years between each film’s release date is exactly the same as the lapse in the actual movie (each movie was filmed 9 years after the previous, and the storyline was written with the actual 9 years passing). It amazes me that the characters change in appearance is precisely how it should be and the events that were to have occurred during the breaks match up perfectly. I hate when a sequel comes out a year or two later and the characters have either aged 10 years, or not at all. The way Richard Linklater* produced these films makes them seem even more genuine and authentic. He has quickly become one of my absolute favorite directors/screenwriters/producers.
Rating: 7 stars (out of 5)
*Linklater’s other astounding and critically acclaimed movies include Dazed and Confused, Boyhood, and Slacker, just to name a few.