Monday, October 14, 2013

Before Sunrise & the BLOW OFF

WARNING: This blog contains major spoilers for the Before Sunrise trilogy

The “Before Sunrise” movies have not only inspired my writing, they have actually impacted my relationships. I remember when I first saw Before Sunrise. Now some people (like my father) would say “what kind of movie is this? It’s just one long conversation.” I would argue that it’s watching two characters Jesse and Celine, (who begin to feel like friends), literally fall in love right before your eyes. Unlike with most movies, there are no montages set to a pop song and no silly conflict they have to overcome in the second act before they can be together in the third. This movie feels like real life. Well, real life if that means walking around Vienna with a beautiful stranger.  You watch these two characters talk about anything and everything and form an actual connection. The conflicts are geography and time. He’s American and she’s French and when the sun rises, they will be forced to go their separate ways.

At the end of the first movie, Jesse and Celine decide it would be best not to keep in touch. They both knew that over time the calls and letters would fade out and their perfect night would be tainted. Keep in mind, this was before Facebook, Skype and maybe even email. Still, even today with all of this amazing technology, they had a point. It’s a point that I’ve pondered in some of my own relationships. If you have an amazing fairytale romance, should you try to make it last forever? Or should you keep it in a box as a perfect memory?

If you find a true connection, it’s hard to let go of it which is why Jesse and Celine decide to meet again in Vienna six months later. Romantics will leave Before Sunrise believing they do meet up again and live happily ever after. Cynics will believe they never see each other again and go on with their lives. I found myself somewhere in the middle. I wanted to believe their love would conquer all, but even as a teenager I knew it would be hard for them.

One awesome thing about these movies is that sequels are never promised and they come at a time when audiences who fell in love with Jesse and Celine are truly excited to reconnect with them. Before Sunset didn’t disappoint. Both the romantics and cynics were correct. Jesse showed up that fateful day and Celine did not, but only because her grandmother died. Neither of them ever truly got over each other or the memory of their perfect night together. While they both came to idealize each other and that night, their second meeting confirmed that the feelings they felt so long ago were not only real, but they never went away even though Jesse married another woman and had a son with her.

In Before Midnight we finally get to see what it would be like if Jesse and Celine were really together and it’s far from perfect. The fantasy is gone, they no longer idealize each other and the problems of everyday life have replaced the magic that once defined their love. Once again, the audience is left to decide if Jesse and Celine’s love will continue to conquer all.  I choose to believe that it will. I'm very optimistic when it comes to other people's love lives, especially fictional characters.

Love is hard, magic fades, and being with one person isn’t a feeling, it’s a decision.  The Before Sunrise trilogy taught me that holding onto a perfect memory only holds you back because nothing is perfect.  If you find someone you can’t live without, you should work to live with them. 


  1. I truly love your writing! The last line is my favorite!

  2. Aw thank you so much! That makes my day :-)