Before Sunrise

Critics Consensus

Thought-provoking and beautifully filmed, Before Sunrise is an intelligent, unabashedly romantic look at modern love, led by marvelously natural performances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.



Total Count: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 73,243
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Movie Info

The film revolves around the story of a young man and woman who meet on a train and impulsively decide to get off at Vienna. With only one night ahead, the two spend their time exploring the city and getting to know each other, knowing that they have to eventually go their separate ways.

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Andrea Eckert
as Wife on Train
Hanno Pöschl
as Husband on Train
Karl Bruckschwaiger
as Guy on Bridge
Tex Rubinowitz
as Guy on Bridge
Erni Mangold
as Palm Reader
Dominik Castell
as Street Poet
Vernon Dobtcheff
as Book Store Manager
Louise Lemoine Torres
as Journalist #1
Harold Waiglein
as Guitarist in Club
Bilge Jeschim
as Belly Dancer
Rodolphe Pauly
as Journalist #2
as Percussionist
as Philippe
Hans Weingartner
as Cafe Patron
Albert Delpy
as Man at Grill
Liese Lyon
as Cafe Patron
Peter Ily Huemer
as Cafe Patron
Otto Reiter
as Cafe Patron
Branko Andric
as Cafe Patron
John Sloss
as Cafe Patron
Alexandra Seibel
as Cafe Patron
Georg Schollhammer
as Cafe Patron
Wilbirg Reiter
as Cafe Patron
Barbara Klebel
as Musician on Boat
Wolfgang Staribacher
as Musician on Boat
Wolfgang Gluxam
as Harpsichord Player
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Critic Reviews for Before Sunrise

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (43)

Audience Reviews for Before Sunrise

  • Jan 04, 2014
    It's Richard Linklater's big follow-up to "Dazed and Confused", so you know that this is going to be quite the lively, quirky comedy. I don't really know if there's any tricking people into thinking that this is that kind of a film, because the title is so tastefully dramatic and... moderately pretentious that you know this is going to be at least a little more serious than "Dazed and Confused". I don't know, that film did take its name from a pretty harsh Led Zeppelin song, so much so that if you can get past Robert Plant's cheesy, over-the-top moments in vocal overstylization, then it would be dramatic enough to work as this film's title. Yes, I'm perfectly aware that this film is about the building of a relationship, rather than its destruction, but live performances of "Dazed and Confused" meander something fierce, like this film. No, this film isn't that bad aimless, but if any Led Zeppelin song fits it, it's "Ramble On", because it's not much more than about 100 minutes of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy walking and - you guessed it - rambling on. Well, it still has more of a narrative than "Waking Life", or at least that's what I hear, because, like everyone outside of that guy who tells me what is ostensibly the truth about pretentious art films, I didn't see "Waking Life". It's a Richard Linklater film that is somehow less seen than this one, and for good reasons, and I'm not just saying that because this film is decent, even with a considerable deal of flaws. This thin "narrative" concept may be a little too risky for many people to work with, yet that hasn't stopped people from working with it time and again in the past, and while this effort isn't exactly predictable, seeing as how there's not much focus to its plotting, there are certainly a couple of conventions that distance you a smidge from the familiar characters who drive this inconsequential drama, even more so than obnoxious moments. Sure, obnoxious moments aren't a big problem, as the characters are generally very endearing, but there are still occasions in which the romantic leads get a little too snobby, or too harsh, or even too cute with their exchanges for their own good, and they were bound to happen, because as much as this film struggles to find material, it ought to pick up some questionable material pieces. This film is driven by dialogue, so it's odd to say that dialogue drags, being that it's more-or-less the only narrative tool, but the fact of the matter is that there are moments in which the characters ramble on too much about one subject, or even a subject that the final product could perhaps do without. Quite frankly, the film could do without plenty of elements, so as much as I complain about conventional and obnoxious occasions, dragging is the biggest consequential shortcoming, and one that can barely be helped, considering natural shortcomings. There's no real plot here, just aimless interactions and steady exposition, and while this kind of subject matter is handled well enough by Richard Liklater and the lead performers for the final product to endear through potential mediocrity, the narrative limitations are considerable, with a certain blandness that consequential "story"telling shortcomings, however limited in supply, exacerbate. There's just not a whole lot to work with here, and sure, a film like this could have really fallen flat if it wasn't so inspired in certain areas, but when it's all said and done, this questionable narrative idea - which isn't even that original - is locked into underwhelmingness. There's no making a strong film out of this subject matter, yet it's not like Richard Linklater doesn't try, so hard that he makes a final product that is nothing short of endearing, largely because of the decent writing, and partly because of the decent scenery. Needless to say, a lot of the set pieces run together, as there's only so much action to play up scenery, but this is still a relatively impressive and intimate celebration of the classical and modernist attributes behind the rich varieties of cultures within the beautiful setting of Vienna, Austria. Make no mistake, this is mostly about the leads and their interactions, but it's also an immersive, if limited portrait on rich European culture, and such fine scenery helps get the final product by, yet it isn't enough to drive this drama. As I've been saying time and again, there is no real plot to this film, at least in the traditional sense, just a simple study on the budding relationship between two strangers who just interact and get to know each other while molding an unforgettable experience, and while the charming characters in a charming setting open up opportunities for the final product to endear, it's near-impossible to make a rewarding drama out of this subject matter, as well as easy to make a misfire. Needless to say, Richard Linklater does not let that happen, teaming up with Kim Krizan to craft a script that offers draggy, but sharp and grounded dialogue whose subject matter is generally pretty intriguing, and whose expository depth is well-rounded. Decent writing, as well as direction by Linklater which never gets too meditative, sustain a decently brisk pace through tight thoughtfulness upon subject matter that may be draggy, as well as totally unable to wash away all of the natural shortcomings, but is inspired enough to not get monotonous. This film could never be rewarding, but its achievement of, not just decency, but, if you will, fun is all but amazing, and it couldn't have been pulled off without the onscreen inspiration, especially from the gorgeous lead duo of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, because even though the supporting cast also charms, this is by far mostly about the leads, who deliver, both on naturalistically assured separate charisma that allows Hawke and Delpy to immerse themselves into their roles and feel like different, real people, as well as on absolutely dynamite chemistry that makes the relationship between Jesse and Céline, and its layers, feel genuine. Hawke and Delpy most consistently deliver, and not even they can bring the film to a rewarding point, or even to the brink of a rewarding point, but they try about as hard as anyone, and Linklater certainly raises a standard for trying, as well as endearing, bringing enough life to this dialogue drama to make a thoroughly charming final product, in spite of its great limitations. As sunrise approaches, you're left with a romantic character drama that is held back by occasions of conventionalism and obnoxiousness, as well as much dragging, and really undercut by natural shortcomings to a non-plot, but through engaging locations, sharp writing, reasonably well-paced direction and thorough charisma and chemistry between leads Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, "Before Sunrise" is left standing as an entertainingly charming, if unavoidably underwhelming meditation upon a passionate European affair. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2013
    One of the best films about young love . . . its simultaneously hopeful and realistic about this sudden relationship. The chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is perfect.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2013
    "Before Sunrise" starts of with a powerful scene that has two completely different people meet for the first time right before a man is about to disperse from the train. After convincing her to get off with him and spend the night before his flight, they go all around town learning new things about each other. Taking place all in one night, the performances, along with the screenplay is really what will keep you interested, and I must say, both of those aspects are done to perfection and even though I do not do this very often, I am calling this movie perfect. "Before Sunrise" is a pure romantic masterpiece that must be seen by everyone to be believed. This 100-minute romantic tale has comedy, heart, and a romantic tug on the heart that has never been stronger in any film I have seen. This is the best romance film that I have ever seen by far, and I will be watching it over and over again. The start of this trilogy of films is absolutely breathtaking.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2013
    Astounding in just how engaging and real it all is, "Before Sunrise" wields the intangible power of belief - it can singlehandedly make you believe in the good intentions of people, both through its own fictional story and as something that came out of the minds of real people.With this, Linklater created a masterpiece of storytelling, a lesson in optimism, a work of art that is unique to cinema, and something altogether timeless in its depiction of human relationships, as well as the individual and collective search for truth.
    Sam B Super Reviewer

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