At one point in Before Sunrise, Jesse begins to admit that in the months leading up to his wedding, he couldn’t stop thinking of Celine. He would see everywhere, all the time, always in New York—especially once folding up an umbrella and entering a deli on 13th and Broadway. But she was off living in Europe somewhere, so he knew he was crazy. And of course, Celine then tells him that she was actually living in New York at that time—on 11th and Broadway.
It’s a small moment but an absolutely heartbreaking one—knowing that their lives could have been entirely different had he just glanced out of the car window again to see if it was her, knowing that this person whom he met onc, yet possessed him so completely as an intangible longing inside him, was in fact right under his nose— and he never knew it. They never knew it.
But yes, that’s is just one of many painfully wonderful and sob-inducing moments in Richard Linklater’s Richard Linklater’s transcontinental love trilogy. And since Before Sunrise’s premiere in 1994, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have been our Celine and Jesse, playing out the epitome of rare requited love thwarted by time and space. You watch these films, and for all the tears you cannot help but shed, you’re always left with the pangs of hopefulness. It excites something in you and tickles your heart to know that somewhere on a tram in Europe, your ideal soulmate could be pensively starring out a window wondering if there’s something he’s missing and if there was, where to find it.
Walking Back Through the Most Magical Moments of ‘Before Sunrise’ & ‘Before Sunset’