“Think of this as time travel.” Twentysomething American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets twentysomething Parisian Celine (Julie Delpy) on a cross-Europe train. He convinces her to disembark in Vienna and kill time with him before his flight the next morning; over the next twelve hours, they walk, talk, look around and fall desperately, unexpectedly in love. Linklater’s third feature is many things: a sensitive portrait of youth, with all its deep fault lines, painful insecurities, deep-set arrogances and deeper-set longings; a curious, digressive city symphony; a rich meditation on the act of looking; a love story that, for all its idealized meet-cute trappings, stays rooted in a concrete language of gestures, glances, vocal inflections and shifts of weight; and, in the end, a devastating study of the passage of time. Seen in relation to the subsequent two films in Linklater’s celebrated Jesse and Celine trilogy, Before Sunrise takes on new, still sadder resonances. Taken on its own, it’s simply one of the great movies—past, present, or future.

  • Directed By Richard Linklater
  • 1995
  • USA
  • 35mm
  • 105 minutes