Tag Archive | Before Sunrise

The most romantic movie I have ever seen: Before Sunrise

I love, love, love this movie. I watched it again last night, and there is nothing I would change about it, not one thing. A few years ago, some girl friends of mine decided to rent it to see what I was raving about, and their reactions were bored and quizzical at best. Nothing happens, they complained.   Oh, but so much does. Two people discover each other slowly, tentatively, with growing joy. It is a marvelous thing to watch.

“I like to feel his eyes on me when I look away.”

On the surface, my friends were right. This isn’t your typical Hollywood fare where you are made to sympathize with lovers as they struggle against the world or even against themselves, until love finally triumphs and they fall into each other’s arms to the accompaniment of a sweeping score. In Before Sunrise, the story is something that can happen to you and me, and might even be happening now, somewhere in the world. Two young people, Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) meet on a train and start talking. They spend several hours getting to know each other. Knowing that their time together is fleeting, they decide to be “rational adults” about it and just enjoy each other’s company without unrealistic expectations. No declarations of undying love are spoken. It is unnecessary — we can see how they look at each other anyway.

I’m not going to do another review. I already reviewed it here, Before Sunrise, as well as its sequel, Before Sunset (SPOILER ALERT for both). This post is just a way of relishing the delight that always lingers after I watch that film. In a way, I feel almost like a voyeur. Their interaction is so genuine that it feels like there is no camera, no movie, just a real conversation between two very interesting, likable people. There’s this scene in a music store where he looks at her and she looks at him, then they both glance away, not wanting to be caught — and it’s such a sweet, private moment that I feel both giddy for them and a little embarrassed to have witnessed it. I wish there could be more films like this one.

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Top Ten Hottest Male Fictional Characters

This list of daydream-worthy characters actually started with an idea that has the potential to land me on failbook.com if I ever carry it out:


But since I haven’t found the perfect picture to represent a composite of all my fictional lovers yet, this will have do for now:

Top Ten Fictional Characters Who Melt Me

10. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command – You might say a cartoon character is out of place on this list, but I’ve loved him forever (this is Buzz Lightyear from the Disney Channel series, not from Toy Story), so I can’t leave him out. And why should I? He’s brave, heroic, and he saves the universe on a daily basis. Plus, he has the best catchphrase ever: To infinity and beyond!!! Beats Superman’s “Up, up, and away,” if you ask me.

9. Westley – He’s a pirate. In a black ninja mask.  That right there is ten different kinds of awesome already, but there’s more. He also has kickass sword fighting skills, a sharp wit, and a superb intellect. Plus he responds to Buttercup’s every whim with “As you wish.” Learn, gentlemen, learn. (The Princess Bride movie adaptation is hilarious, but it’s got nothing on the book. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out on one of the best comedic experiences in fantasy literature.)

8. Hector – He’s just the most all-around decent guy in The Iliad. No womanizing, arrogance, or war-thirst here — he’s just a guy forced to fight a war he didn’t want to defend the country his irresponsible younger brother jeopardized.  But as mighty as he was on the battlefield, he was also incredibly loving to his wife and child. Both strength and tenderness in a man — who could resist that? It also doesn’t hurt that the gorgeous Eric Bana played him in Troy (a.k.a The Beautiful People Go to War, which is less an adaptation of The Iliad and more of an excuse to show as many bare, oiled muscles as possible outside of a wrestling match). I have a weakness for guys with deep, rough voices, and that man has a voice so manly he could probably make a drag queen grow ovaries.

7. Noah Calhoun – He loves nature, reads poetry, writes love letters, plays the guitar, and loves faithfully and forever. The Notebook should probably come with a warning: High Risk of Causing Female Frustration. I hate you, Nicholas Sparks, for making me fall in love with someone who doesn’t exist!

6. King Mongkut – I know he’s not exactly fictional, but I just loved how Chow Yun Fat portrayed him in the film Anna and the King. All that restrained passion and sexual tension between him and Anna was absolutely delicious to watch. Sometimes a glance is more potent than the most poetic avowals of love. And sometimes glances are all that can be shared. King Mongkut kept himself from promising Anna a future that he knew was impossible, no matter how much they both longed for it. That’s integrity even when it’s most difficult, and it separates the men from the boys.

5. Barney Snaith – The town outcast who turns out to be the best friend a girl can have, Barney is my favorite L.M. Montgomery hero. (You can keep your Gilbert Blythe, Anne.) In The Blue Castle, he introduces Valancy to the magic of woods and hills and fields, and she blooms under his care. They go wandering around the gorgeous Canadian outdoors, or they read together in front of the fire with their two cats, or they just sit on the porch watching the twilight in contented silence. This is the kind of life I want to have, and a man like Barney Snaith is the perfect someone to share it with. A girl can dream, right?

4. Captain Von Trapp* – Again, not quite fictional, but there’s something about stern, masterful men that women find fascinating. Still waters run deep, they say, and we just can’t resist wanting to see the warmth and passion beneath that cool, controlled exterior.  So when the proud captain turns to Maria in that moonlit garden and tells her that he loves her “whether or not [he] should,” you just know that he would turn the full force of his nature into loving her. And  that, ladies and gentlemen, marked my entrance to puberty — when I started watching The Sound of Music not only for the songs but for the drama between the rigid Captain Von Trapp and the impetuous Maria.

3. Alessan di Tigana bar Valentin – An exiled prince, a desperate revolutionary, a brilliant strategist, a gifted musician — the central character of G.G. Kay’s fantasy novel Tigana commands attention from both comrades and enemies alike. And can you blame them? He is both poignantly human and larger than life. And no woman, fictional or otherwise, can possibly resist being told that, “You are the harbor of my soul’s journeying.” Excuse me, I have to swoon.

2. Jesse – I have never seen so much chemistry between two leads in a modern love story as there is between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The way that Jesse looks at Celine — it’s as if he’s trying to figure out how in the world he happened to come across someone so beautiful. Jesse himself is beautiful: witty, articulate, intelligent, spontaneous, sensual. They captivate each other in the most bittersweet, poignant love story I have ever seen on the screen, and they convince us that it’s possible: On the most ordinary day, something unusual might happen and you might end up meeting the love of your life. And when that happens, don’t let go. (Or *spoiler alert* at least get a freaking phone number, for heaven’s sake. Jesse, I would totally have given you mine.)

1. Aragorn – There are so many sides to this Man of the West in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: a scholar, a poet, a healer, a vagabond, a warrior, a king. Also, a lover to Arwen Evenstar, for whom he must win his kingdom back so that he could gain her father’s approval. Elrond played the part of demanding, reluctant potential father-in-law with uncommon relish. Basically, he said to Aragorn, “Sure, you can marry my daughter, but only after you go on a suicidal mission almost forty years from the time you met.” To which Aragorn replied, “Whatever you say, Dad.” So, yeah. I’ll take this scruffy, grimy Ranger over those debonair Prince Charmings any day.

There you have it. A fabulous female friend of mine once quipped, “Honey, if he’s too good to be true, then he probably isn’t.” Well, happy daydreaming anyway. 🙂

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* Mr. Darcy has the same appeal, but Captain Von Trapp can actually play the guitar and sing, so more sexy points for him.

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Best Movie Moments

Just so you know how cheesy I really am, I made a list of those special screen moments that remain in my mind long after the credits roll. I may have gone a little overboard in the “goodbye” category, though. For some reason, I remember more tearful scenes than happy ones. For example, I could find only two winners for the “kiss” and “almost-kiss” (you know, those times when there’s this tension in the air but they never quite get there) categories. Anyway, I expect to keep updating this list in the future.

FAVORITE DANCE

#3. The Lindler by Capt. Von Trapp and Maria in The Sound of Music

#2. Sixteen Going on Seventeen by Rolfe and Leizl in The Sound of Music

#1. King Mongkut and Anna’s last waltz in Anna and the King (absolutely unforgettable)

FAVORITE “I LOVE YOU”

#3. “Can’t you see? Every step I have taken, since I was a child on that bridge, has been to bring me closer to you.” – Sayuki to the Chairman in Memoirs of a Geisha

#2. You gave me peace in a lifetime of war.” – Achilles to Briseis in Troy

#1. “I choose a mortal life.” – Arwen to Aragorn in The Fellowship of the Ring

FAVORITE KISS

#2. Peter and Wendy in Capt. Hook’s ship in Peter Pan (2003 version)

#1. Arwen and Aragorn at Aragorn’s coronation in The Return of the King

FAVORITE ALMOST-KISS

#2. Jesse and Celine in the listening booth in Before Sunrise

#1. Anna and King Mongkut at the beach in Anna and the King

FAVORITE GOODBYE

#7. “We’ll always have Paris.” – Rick to Ilsa in Casablanca

#6. “It was a dream, Arwen. Nothing more.” – Aragorn to Arwen in The Return of the King

#5. “If I die..” “No!” “If I die, I don’t know how much longer Troy will stand.”- Hector and Andromache in Troy

#4. “Yeah…okay…. I’ll see you at home…. Please, Jimmy? I’ll see you at home?” – Mae to Jim in Cinderella Man

#3. “You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die…” – Will Shakespeare to Viola in Shakespeare in Love

#2. “Your majesty, promise me! Promise me that I will see you again.” – Anna to King Mongkut in Anna and the King

#1.”We set out to save the Shire, Sam. And it has been saved. But not for me.” – Frodo to Sam in The Return of the King

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On magic

If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something…. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed, but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.

– Celine in Before Sunrise


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