A chance meeting aboard a train from Budapest to Paris results in a wonderfully constructed whirlwind romance for two strangers. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is travelling alone through Europe when he begins talking to the pretty French lady across the isle from him. That woman is Céline (Julie Delpy) who is on her way back to Paris after visiting her grandmother in the Hungarian capital. They strike up a friendly conversation which continues in the dining car before Jesse’s stop in Vienna approaches. Sensing a connection he suggests that Céline disembarks with him to continue their discussion. She impulsively agrees and the duo spends the night wandering Vienna together.
Before Sunrise lacks any sort of plot but is nevertheless beautifully written and structured. I never once wished for something to happen besides the continuing conversation and discovery. The dialogue is deeply woven and superbly delivered by two actors on top form. Their connection seems so real that it’s hard to believe that the actors themselves didn’t end up together. Nothing is forced and the conversations meander naturally while at all times remaining high brow and intellectually stimulating. Occasionally there is a lull in the engagement I had with the dialogue but this still works as it’s how one would react when listening to any long conversation.