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Wednesday, September 18, 2013


SOMETIMES, MY LACK OF CATCHING WORTHWHILE FILMS when they first appear amazes me. I can be so out of the loop. I just finished watching Before Sunrise which was released in 1995 and features Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who co-wrote it with director, Richard Linklater. I probably missed it because my daughter was born in 1995, and in that early baby-haze, I missed some things. I finally saw Before Sunrise because my mother mentioned it, along with its sequel Before Sunset (2004) and the recently released Before Midnight which she wanted to see. We missed the last film in the trilogy too, so we’ll have to wait until it comes out on DVD.

Anyway, I was very impressed with both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset which I spent the last two days watching. They both had excellent reviews, and I can see why. The things that struck me most about Before Sunrise was its sense of urgency, its ability to satisfy our need for connection (even if temporarily), and its focus on the transitory nature of all things. For life, it’s a good reminder. Our best moments are always fleeting. The demise of those moments is always inevitable. Therefore the lesson - for living a good life, and for writing about the human experience in no matter what genre we choose - is to value those moments we have.

By the end of Before Sunrise, we’re shown all the places Jesse and Celine spent in their one day together. There is a sad, nostalgic feeling to it. Without those two prime players filling those spaces, the locales feel empty. Nostalgia can be an uncomfortable emotion, approaching grief. All of us have felt it. We tend to dismiss it as quickly as possible so we might feel better, but the point is – as writers, it’s important for us to pay attention to these uncomfortable moments, for they are another way we connect with the reader. There is a commonality of experience, a ‘yes, I know what this is’, that brings writer and reader together.


  1. I too found those movies gripping (and haven't yet see the third one). The dialogue worked well, bringing the characters' thoughts, feelings, and back story alive without sounding forced (except where appropriate for people groping toward common ground or touching on difficult emotional moments).

  2. Yes! And one of the other amazing things for me was that both films didn't need a lot of action. Mostly, it was the two of them talking. It's surprising how diverting that was. We're engaged because we hope for their present moment and their future.