Love Letter to “Before Sunrise”

5 Min Read

T R I B U T E – M O V I E

Ahsab Rahman

“If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something.” 

– Céline

I remember watching Before Sunrise for the first time — sitting in my room alone in utter awe. I have always romanticised the idea of a dreamy, fantasy-like world where I would have raw, intimate moments with my soulmate — moments that would resonate with us for eternity. All these days, this meagre yearning was only a part of my imagination, but to finally visualise it on-screen — was more than surreal.

The joke that Before Sunrise invented love probably got old, but there’s no denying that there aren’t many films out there that could encapsulate the beauty of a candid conversation with a stranger, filled with pure innocence and deep wistfulness — to this level. Before Sunrise captures that magic ever-so smoothly, because it’s just too honest.

Behind the witty, philosophical dialogues, there is depth, care, and poetic subtlety. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is so natural that it’s scary — almost like they were scientifically designed for each other. The nuanced acting blended with the ethereal streets of Vienna — creates a dream-like atmosphere where you simply wish you were the one experiencing it with your lover. 

There are so many moments in the film that never failed to give me thrill and comfort for reasons that are beyond my understanding. How do I describe my feeling of joy seeing Jesse and Céline staring into each other in that record store? With each passing moment, the affection just grew stronger, and Kath Bloom’s Come Here only added layers of splendour to this scene. At this point, you can’t help but badly wish for them to kiss. But the kiss doesn’t come — not yet. The moment is so powerful, sweet, and somehow vulnerable as well, and perhaps that’s the beauty of Before Sunrise — it’s unpredictable and far from cliché.

I won’t lie, the first time I read the synopsis of this film, I had the most generic thought — “Oh, another cheesy romcom filled with cringy dialogues.” However, Before Sunrise did everything it could to slap me hard for even thinking that. When Jesse and Céline finally kiss, locking their eyes with each other, right before sunset in a Ferris wheel high above the ground — you can’t simply help but wonder in admiration. Each frame is so beautifully shot that it’s very difficult on my part to choose a favourite scene from this movie. Perhaps, the scene where Céline makes the fake telephone call to her best friend takes the cake. This moment is so special because it evokes a complex emotion in me — much like I am having this feeling of romance, desperation, and depression — all at the same time.

With the train whistling as cruelly as it could in the ending scene, I, for once, yearned for it to not come. I wish the train never truly arrived and I wish I could have…more — more of Jesse and Céline; more of realistic conversations; more of pure human connection. If there’s any kind of magic in this world, then it must be in this movie — an undying sense of joy and sadness intertwined in this land of wonders. As the credits rolled for the film, all I had in mind was — Before Sunrise portrays the love I have always been looking for. And to add a bit more, for a hopeless romantic like me, Before Sunrise is simply eternal.


Ahsab likes to spend time thinking about how the manga “Nana” could have continued, and daydreaming about getting Eminem’s blessings to start his own rap career. 


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