Will somebody please give me Richard Linklater's number so I can call him and gush about how much I love Before Sunrise and Before Sunset and how generally awesome he is? Because he's awesome. And these movies are awesome, as are most of his movies. And Fighting Nun is awesome for actually liking them (although it took some coaxing just to wath them, didn't it, Mr. "I don't think it sounds very good."-pants, Huh?)
So, flashback to ten years ago. I'm 17, which *shudder*. My mom rents Before Sunrise, I think partially because I had a big ole honking crush on Ethan Hawke. This movie had me entranced, not because it was romance movie, because I don't think it's a romance, not at its core, I think it's a deeply affecting character study, but of course I was seventeen, so I was convinced it was a romance of sorts, but about a year before that I was convinced I was gonna marry Elden Hensen, so so much for that. But the reason I loved that movie is because it felt real. It didn't feel layered with schmoopy sentiment, it wasn't over the top with the charm. It felt comfortable, lived in, beautiful and simple. I was at that impressionable age right before I went to college, filled with all this grandeous ideas of literature and philosophy, and sitting in coffe shops and having interesting conversations with people, and what college was supposed to mean. And oddly enough, this movie made all those ideas feel attainable.
Cut to ten years later, or more to the point, February. I have had Before Sunset tivoed for like months, because Damn It! I'm going to talk Fighting Nun into it if it kills me. Fighting Nun is left to his own devices for a week and decides to watch Before Sunset. He's utterly convinced he's going to hate it. His expectations are loooow. Like trying to find any enjoyment out of Kevin Federline's rapping career loooow. But, surprise! He likes it. (Cue Chunk Voice "I told you. I always tell you guys but you never believe me.") Ahem. So later on I watch it and, no surprise, I absolutely love it.
And then Fighting Nun delivers the sweetest, oddest, most perfect compliment ever. He says Celine reminds him of me. It's perfect because ten years before, as that idealistic seventeen-year-old, I empathized with Celine. I think part of me wished I was her, having these amazingly intellectual conversations and yet she was so obviously vulnerable. She refused to hide her insecurities. She displayed some of them for all the world and for Jesse to see and I'm not sure I appreciated it then, but I appreciate that sentiment now. The fact that Fighting Nun made that comparison without me even throwing out the dots for him to connect... well, I have trouble naming the emotion I felt when he said that.
Fast forward to last weekend, when I got to see Before Sunrise for the first time in ten years. It still feels clean and simple and perfect in its composition. Richard Linklater and crew still hit every note and I still felt the was I did watching it for the first time ten years ago. Everything still has promise. Actually, I feel I got more out of it this time than I did ten years ago, because I got more out of the details than I did when I was seventeen. There's this moment close to the end of the movie where there are small little cuts of places they had been, now deserted, empty, without them in the frame. You get this awesome sense of longing and loss, and it's note perfect. And yes, I'm not ashamed to admit I got all misty eyed, again.
Long story short. I love those movies, and somehow they feel so timeless, so classic that they don't diminish with age. They get better. Thanks Richard. You are awesome. And so is Julie Delphy. And Ethan Hawke.