Thursday, February 28, 2008

Before Sunrise

That is one of my favorite movies, because Julie Delpy's leading role is one of the most believable characters I've ever seen.

Most movies portray women as either virginal and aloof (Casablanca) or superhuman and independent (There's Something About Mary). In these movies, the men are the ones who make mistakes, who need help, and the women are angelic figures there to help out. The men are the characters who usually change.

In Before Sunrise, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke play equally complex characters, who commit equal mistakes in their past relationships, who are drawn to each other equally.

Julie Delpy is beautiful, of course, but not in the sense of the male ideal. She wears flat shoes, little make-up, and a plain dress, something much more attainable for the average young woman.

She buys Ethan Hawke a drink (women never pay in the movies, but it often happens in life) because he is traveling and only 23 years old, so he doesn't have much money. This is a true homage to Gen X reality.

It is partly due to the portrayal of this character that I find Richard Linklater, the director, so respectable. He paid women their due in this movie, creating a character that was neither a sexpot nor pathetic, but somewhere in between.


Holly said...

Did you see the sequel, "Before Sunset"? They meet up again when they're older and a little more cynical and a little more adorable. I think about it once every couple of weeks when I reevaluate my life and wonder if I shouldn't move to a courtyard apartment in a French village.

Hope said...

This is my first time to your blog, and I was startled to see this-- I'm going through a Richard Linklater phase! I'd seen Before Sunrise and Before Sunset a few years ago and loved them both, and this past week I rented "A Scanner Darkly" because it was one of the few movies of his I hadn't seen (I didn't love it).

Have you seen "Tape" or "Waking Life"? The latter is a little plotless, like "Dazed and Confused" but artistically more interesting, and I love "Tape", but it's very gritty and hard to watch multiple times.