Before I start this review, I have to give a quick shoutout to my mom for recommending me the Before trilogy – if you’re reading this, thanks mom! Before Sunrise is a critically acclaimed romance drama starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. It’s the first movie in the Before trilogy, and after enjoying this one so much, I’m excited to watch the next two installments. The story itself is quite simple; it’s about two strangers, Jesse and Celine, who meet on a Eurail Train and decide to spend just one night together in Vienna before they part ways. While I was initially worried this ordinary plot would feel a bit dull, I came to realize its simplicity is what makes this movie shine.

Jesse and Celine first meeting on the Eurail train.

If there’s one thing I have to say about this movie, it’s that Before Sunrise is not your typical romance drama. There’s no unnecessary drama or distractions, there’s not even any songs playing in the background, just soft and simple instrumental music. You don’t even have to worry about any potential love triangles or suspicious backstories – the movie is entirely focused on these two individuals and the love that slowly blossoms between them.

What genuinely surprised me was how engaged I was throughout the film despite nothing happening. And what I mean by nothing happens is you literally just watch the couple talk and walk around Vienna all night. If you’re the type of person who desperately needs quick plot progression to overcome boredom, this movie is definitely not for you. But if you’re interested in thought-provoking, beautifully written discussions between two very real people, this entire movie is focused on that.

Jesse and Celine listening to records in a soundbooth.

In my opinion, it was a very easygoing watch; I just sat back, relaxed, and took in every word being said. The film touched upon some very deep topics which I loved such as personal fulfillment, self growth, and the importance of a significant other. I enjoyed how sincere and earnest every conversation was and that it was never just meaningless chatter. I could see how each new topic unraveled another barrier between Jesse and Celine.

And it’s thanks to the effortlessly natural performances by Hawke and Delpy that the movie was as beautiful as it was. They had wonderful chemistry from the moment the two met on the train, and there’s a clear romantic intensity that builds between them throughout the rest of the night. The film almost felt private and intimate, as if the audience was intruding on their personal conversations.

Jesse and Celine on their final morning together.

Overall, I truly enjoyed watching this movie. Every scene had a clear purpose and was wonderfully directed. Being the only two on the screen for 95% of the movie, Hawke and Delpy were able to deliver convincing and realistic performances that took the movie to new heights. With fantastic acting, amazing writing, and solid directing, Before Sunrise deserves an 8/10. I’m excited to see what the sequel has to offer and to see more of this couple. As long as it maintains and captures the gentle, magical essence of this first film, I’m sure it won’t disappoint Review for Before Sunset (2004) coming soon!