Up All Night

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Blockbuster’s DVD-by-mail finally got around to sending me Before Sunrise this week. As I mentioned last week, the missus and I had seen this Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy movie in the theatre when it came out, but seeing the sequel, Before Sunset, this year made us want to see the original again.

In comparison to the sequel, the original suffers two big disadvantages. Where 2004's Before Sunset takes place in real-time – chronicling ninety minutes of conversation in Paris, 1995's Before Sunrise takes place over several hours in Vienna. The other disadvantage is that Before Sunrise transpires overnight, so much of the film is darker and leans too heavily on encounters with the sideshow-like people who come out at night. Before Sunset benefits from the brightness of its sunny afternoon and the interaction with others has been reduced.

Of course, the most important aspect of the movie has very little to do with the setting or other characters. It’s all about the conversation between Hawke and Delpy. (It’s my generation’s My Dinner With Andre, with more kissing and without that “it’s inconceivable” guy from the Princess Bride.) Their dialogue is sometimes pretentious, awkward or just plain silly, but coming out of the mouths of two twenty-three year olds, that’s totally believable (I can say that now that I’m a mature – but still pretentious – thirty-six).

That’s the biggest thing this movie and its sequel have going for it, believability. They make it seem effortless, but if these two actors didn’t carry these movies as well as they did not only wouldn’t you believe in their characters, you wouldn’t even care about them. Instead you end up hoping they connect again, and make another great movie (Before Middle-Age?).


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