nyrobsivad99’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Like a National Geographic programme about people.”
Yeah, yeah okay. So I liked it.
To the cynical and uninformed, Before Sunrise presents perhaps as yet another Hallmark style, romantic snoozefest that leans heavily into cheap emotional manipulation and overdone tropes. What it is instead is a very sweet and surprisingly attention grabbing slice-of-life picture about two of the most likeable and attractive people you will ever see on the silver screen.
While your mileage may vary so far as pacing, since this is really just “Duologue: The Movie”, there is such compelling character drama and storytelling to be found here that I cannot help but recommend it to everybody. I feel like I have been suckered in by somebody. With a lot of improvisation from our leads on top of a pretty strong foundation, the conversations in Before Sunrise are just inherently interesting. The faux-intellectualism and clever contrast between two somewhat cynical people makes it amazing to me that we have such an optimistic and feel-good time on our hands. The situation is certainly tragic but it is by no means entirely miserable. It has simultaneously layered and childishly simple messages and themes pulled off to equal effectiveness.
Before Sunrise is incredibly charming and one of the essential romantic films. I have no interest in checking out any of the sequels because this is such a beautiful, stand-alone piece of work that needs to further exploration. It just is what it is until it ends and I think that that is great.