Richard Linklater, Director and Writer of ‘Boyhood’, ‘Dazed and Confused’, and recently, ‘Everybody wants some’ is often recognized as a modern Philosopher in Cinema. Using such films as ‘Waking Life’ and ‘Before Sunset’ to raise moral question. Linklater, for all intents and purposes, is a thinking man’s filmmaker. Splicing each of his projects with open-ended questions about the meaning of life and death, the intricacies of relationships, free will, dreams, and reality. Posing such questions and allowing his characters a voice (in attempting to answer them) does more than just create lovable characters who feel more humanized and therefore create a better connection with the viewer. As evident in his ‘Before…’ Trilogy of movies, covering philosophy between two characters as a means of getting to know each other creates genuine chemistry. In ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’, and ‘Before Midnight’, you can see before you, two young adults speaking the truths of their time in an effort to touch one another. They grow together over the course of a day and night, an afternoon into the evening, and another day and night respectively.
Meet Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), two confused young minds of the 90’s. Both in their early 20’s. Both very similar. Jesse is American and Celine is French. Jesse and Celine meet on a train and instantly strike up conversation. Right away they begin with expectations and what it is to be doing something you want in life, Jesse describes his first experience dealing with Death and Celine talk about her intense fear of dying.
After Jesse convinces Celine to spend the day with him walking around in Vienna, the journey begins. Jesse and Celine begin their adventure by meeting some locals, sharing a bus ride and talking about their first sexual feelings towards another person, and the moment that to me, epitomizes the film. Jesse and Celine squeeze into the close quarters of a listening booth at a record store and share a very beautiful 3 minutes staring at each other and then looking away. Afterwards the duo walk and talk about the value of religion as it relates to them and in their life experience, those they’ve witnessed. Jesse and Celine share their first kiss.
During an intense match of pinball, Celine recalls the demise of her last relationship and Jesse confesses that he originally came to Europe to surprise his former girlfriend. The two open up and share the defining moment of the film, by talking about what it is to need someone and how moving on from being in love with another can effect you.
Jesse and Celine share some snacks and get their palms read. The two then delve into fate, and how the palm-reader makes her money by being vague and that everyone wants to be told good things but not the truth about themselves. The two walk some more and talk about aging, the role of women and men in relationships and in the world, and are met by a poet who offers to write them a poem inserting any 1 word of their choice. Celine decides on milkshake. After the poet recites this lovely poem they pay him and are on their way. Jesse, a fellow writer believes that the poem was pre-written and the word milkshake added, Celine doesn’t seem to care either way. And that moment captures the dynamic of Jesse and Celine for the two films to come.