Coffee & Movie Talk: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight - A trilogy of movies

Movies and coffee.

Years ago, I remember bits and pieces of a movie about a guy meeting a girl on a train in Europe, and after they started talking, they didn't want to stop.  He had a plane to catch in Vienna at 9:30 the next morning so they got off the train together in Vienna and spent the night talking, walking, enjoying each others company before parting ways in the early morning.  I never saw it again (and honestly was too busy with 'life' raising 3 kids and working  to think about it or go looking for it).

Last weekend my husband was working, I had 'me' time and stumbled across the Before Sunrise movie mentioned on a webpage.  It had a short description - that sounded familiar - so I clicked on it and once again re-discovered a movie that just makes my heart smile.

"On his way to Vienna, American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets Celine 
(Julie Delpy), a student returning to Paris.  After long conversations 
forge a surprising connection between them, Jesse convinces Celine 
to get off the train with him in Vienna. Since his flight to the U.S. 
departs the next morning and he has no money for lodging, 
they wander the city together, taking in the experiences 
of Vienna and each other. As the night progresses, 
their bond makes separating in the morning 
a difficult choice."

Writing about movies is a tough one.  You want to tell friends about this movie you really liked, but you don't want to give away the whole story line or spoilers and you don't want to ruin it for them.   I may have a few little spoilers in here if you haven't seen the movies yet, but I also want to chat about these movies over coffee... so with my coffee in hand (between typing that is,) I am going to do just that.

Before Sunrise talked to my heart for a variety of reasons.
First, because it involves European travel.
Second, I have always had long blonde hair and green eyes and could easily see myself in Celines place.
Third, the romance.  Intelligent conversation with a decent looking guy really is a turn on.
Fourth, there was no expectation of sex.  As a matter of fact, the movie doesn't let you know for sure whether they did or didn't... although if you pick up the hints (they did) such as her missing shirt under her dress at the end, and the fact that this topic comes up in part two: Before Sunset.
Fifth, (and this one is more personal).  This movie reminds me of a few different guys I met when I was a teenager.  A couple stand out in my memory - meeting and spending the day with a good looking guy at an amusement park, going on rides, laughing, spending the entire day together knowing only each others names and parting at the end of the night.  Another guy I met was named Kevin, from Sacramento, California and we met while we both were staying at a campground in Nashville, Tennessee in the 80's.  He, with Grandfather and me, traveling with my family.  A lot of long walks, talks, swimming in the campground pool, he walked me to and from the shower area each night to make sure I was safe... saying goodbye when my family left days early.  Another memory that makes me smile to recall...

I was visiting a friend in St. Charles, Illinois in the 80's and we went to a Power Station and OMD concert at an outdoor venue.  We had general 'grass' seats and after arriving, we settled on a blanket on the hillside.  The concert wasn't due to start for awhile and after a bit we laid back on the blanket, talking, while looking up at the sky.  After awhile I closed my eyes and started to drift off while waiting for the concert.  While laying there with my eyes closed, I suddenly felt a guy's lips on mine.  A young man had basically pulled a Sleeping Beauty moment on me; very gently kissing my lips while I was drifting off to sleep under the sky.  By the time I opened my eyes, sat up and looked around, he was gone.  But the group of teenage guys about 15 feet away from us, stealing glances back at us and quickly looking away, gave themselves away.   After the concert started, two of the guys came back to my friend and I.  One of them admitted he was the prince charming who kissed me on a dare from his friends.  We spent the concert together, and drove our friends crazy by making them wait for us in the parking lot afterwards as we talked for an hour.... not wanting to say goodbye yet.  A kiss goodbye under the parking lot lights... and a great, innocent teenage memory.

And that is why Before Sunrise spoke to my heart.

The next in line (Before Sunset) found Jesse as a writer; having written a book based on their encounter on the train years before.  Celine saw the advertisement and shows up at the bookstore where he is finishing up the last leg of the book tour.  They agree to go for a quick coffee, which turns into spending the day together catching up on the past 9 years.  The end of the movie leaves you both hanging and not really hanging.  You can see the still have chemistry and they fit so well together; but Celine is involved with a relationship, and Jesse is married with a young son back in the United States.

Part three is Before Midnight - and here may be some spoilers because there is really no way to talk about this movie without giving away a couple basic things!  Again, it takes place 9 years later.  Same actors playing the characters, which is SO WONDERFUL as the movies are filmed 9 years apart and Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke play in all three, so you SEE them age in real life right along with the characters.

In Before Midnight you find out they did stay together this time and have been together 9 years.  Jesse is divorced, and he and Celine have two little girls together.  They still have such chemistry, but familiarity breeds contempt and arguments keep interrupting their lives even in the middle of what should be 'happy' moments.  Sex, kids, friends, ex-wives... ironically or perhaps by design of the writer, Celine and Jesse have 'become' the arguing couple on the train from the opening scene of their first movie, Before Sunrise.  So much of this movie hits home to those of us married, with children.

I have a feeling another movie about Celine and Jesse will be coming out in the future.  I hope it's not too cliche of the story lines you would expect to be written at this point (break up, get back together, get married... a total Disney cartoon movie ending) but I hope the writing team digs down a little deeper and stays true to the original theme of the movies.

We'll see, won't we?

The trailer from Before Midnight - the 3rd installment of the trilogy

The first one:  Before Sunrise
A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together.

The second one:  Before Sunset
Nine years after Jesse and Celine first met, they encounter each other again on the French leg of Jesse's book tour.

The third one: Before Midnight
We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.

Before Sunrise
Before Sunset
Before Midnight