One of the most common ideas of a romantic story, propagated by Hollywood, is a night or a day spent with a complete stranger. The concept to put two totally different characters in a setting where a certain time frame dictates their actions and hence, their feelings for each other has worked successfully for a great number of times. The credit to kickstart that trend goes to ‘Before Sunrise’, which in a way introduced this idea to the filmmaking world that you don’t need a story arc or tens of characters to make a great film.
How Does “the Idea” Work?
The idea that two people who have just met but won’t be together for long brings a depth to the emotions — both in the characters and the viewers — and allows the storyteller to bring out whatever shade of their personalities that they want. What brings them together, what keeps them together throughout the journey, how similar their thoughts are, how different are their backgrounds, what drives their current journeys, what are their destinations- all these questions give a great opportunity to explore the things that otherwise seem to lurk on the sidelines of other planned stories. The best thing about such films is that protagonists drive the story rather than the plot. Also, the fleeting nature of their relationship adds more intimacy and meaning to their actions and dialogues. The clock ticking on their fates incites a more passionate response from the audience. Just like everything else, the value of love is increased when an expiry date is put on it.
Chris Evans wanted to capture something similar in his directorial debut, ‘Before We Go’. It brings two people together for a couple of hours and through them, explores the meaning of love, compromise, closure and uncertainty in life. Starring Evans and Alice Eve, whom you might remember from ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’, this film might not live up to the likes of ‘The Before Trilogy’ and ‘Certified Copy’, but ‘Before We Go’ has its moments, and definitely has a fresh approach to the idea. If you haven’t yet seen the film and don’t want it spoiled for you, then you should leave this article here and come back only after you’ve watched it.
Summary of the Plot
The story of ‘Before We Go’ starts at a train station, a perfect romantic setting for any “boy meets girl” situation. Nick (Chris Evans) leisurely plays the trumpet, occasionally acknowledged by passers-by. With the closing time at hand, the crowd becomes scarce and he begins to pack up his things. We notice that Nick is taxed by some worries. His problem might not be so urgent; it might not be something that he needs to face, after all. He is still in the process of making a decision- to stay back and avoid it or go ahead anyway. Just then, a girl (Alice Eve) comes running in, evidently in a hurry to catch the last train, which she misses by a close margin. We can sense by her demeanour that this was an emergency and now that she has missed her ride, the rest of her night is going to be dictated by her need to get where she needs to go. Nick, too, senses her trouble, especially when she runs away, not paying attention to her phone that fell and broke. It becomes more problematic for her when she is told that the station is closing and the next train isn’t before the next morning.