Before Sunrise (2000) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Two thumbs up for this, if you like this kind of movie. Read the descriptions before you think about renting it. 

Tuna's thoughts:

Before Sunrise (1995) is a beautiful little Romantic Comedy staring Ethan Hawke and Judy Delpy -- he an American who has been bumming around Europe on a Euro-Rail pass, and she a Sorbonne student on her way back from a visit with her grandmother. He is due to fly out of Vienna the next day, and plans on walking around all night, mostly because he is broke. The two meet on the train, and have an instant rapport. She takes him up on his  invitation to spend the night walking around Vienna with him. The film is  mostly about the two of them talking and getting to know each other, and could have been a colossal bore, except for the charm of both stars, and their obvious chemistry. Indeed, if they were not doing the nasty after work, they both should have received Oscars. Delpy is absolutely lovable beginning to end.

If you boil all the words down from Maltin  (only 2.5 stars) and Berardinelli (4 stars),  they say the same things, so the difference in score must have to do with enjoyment level. I also enjoyed this one very much, and the DVD transfer made this second watching all the better. This is a romantic comedy with a fresh approach, and fine performances from charismatic stars. Even if you do not usually enjoy romantic comedies, you might well like this one. This film is a near certain start to a very memorable night with a date.  


Scoopy's comments: 

Well, I never heard of anybody refer to Ethan Hawke as charismatic before, but I agree otherwise. As for the difference in scores, it really depends on what kind of movies you like.

Richard Linklater doesn't get a lot of respect from other directors because he is so unsophisticated. Kevin Smith once said that Linklater was his inspiration to become a director, because he realized if Linklater can make movies and get people to see them, then anybody can.

There's some truth to that, but it also ignores the fact that Linklater's lack of technique is a technique. Simplicity is one of the most effective devices to get to the core of emotion, and simplicity is actually difficult to achieve.

Linklater doesn't write any clever plot twists, he doesn't use clever camera tricks, and he doesn't bring situations to resolution, because he's trying to give off that feeling that you're part of real events happening in real time. This is a two hour movie about 14 hours of time. This film is about two young people who meet on a train in Europe. He's supposed to get off in Vienna, she isn't. They have an attraction, so he persuades her to join him in Vienna. The hitch is that he has no money, and no reason to be in Vienna other than to catch a plane in the morning, so all they do is wander through the streets and talk. In essence, there are only three characters: Hawke, Delpy, and Vienna. The only other character involved is us, walking along with them, unobtrusively eavesdropping on their conversation. Nothing happens. They are two average people talking about the things two average people would talk about in such a situation. You will never question whether it is real. It is obviously real, as if lovingly constructed from someone's actual memories.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, and full screen version

  • no meaningful features

Whether you will enjoy the film or not depends on two things:

1) can you remember a young, idealistic love, in the "getting to know one another" stage? Would you like to see a story about such a time, where they got the details exactly right? Here you are. 

2) do you like the entire concept of a movie which is virtually in real time, in which nothing happens at all, where the highlight is a kiss on the "Riesenrad", the Ferris Wheel where Cotton and Welles had their famous conversation? If not, that's what this is, so just skip it. If you have no objection to the concept, this film pulls it off beautifully.

I liked the movie for several reasons, not the least of which because it was actually filmed in Vienna while I was living there. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 4/4,  Maltin 2.5/4.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 100% positive reviews

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.2 
  • With their dollars ... it bombed in the USA, with a gross of only $5.4 million (Small movie, nothing happening), but did better in overseas markets, with an additional $17 million. The budget was $2.5 million
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B- (both reviewers).

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