(Please note: This post is an example as to why I don’t write about movies. Also, this post contains movie spoilage. You have been warned).
I went alone, purchased a ticket for one and sat in a small theater at the Embarcadero. There were about 8 people in there with me. One girl was around my age and the rest of the patrons must have been 60 and up. I was finally – weeks after it came out – going to see Before Sunset.
I, like many people out there, was Jesse and Celine’s age when Before Sunrise came out. I was in college (like they were). I had my entire life ahead of me (like they did). I was excited about love, learning, being and getting hurt, romance, possibilities. Hell, we all know the story. I identified with the both of them – almost to a fault. My life back then was so new to me, so new I’m not even sure it was mine. I had only recently begun to explore an independence and had only recently became acquainted by loss and losing.
Anyway, I think 9 years have gone by since the first one (at least that’s what Jesse said in the movie). How very incredibly thoughtful and totally NOT so empathetic of Richard Linklater to share this movie with us 9 years later. For those of us who are Jesse and Celine’s age, and who saw the movie when they too were that age, I say we bum-rush the motherfucker.
In Before Sunset, Jesse is a published writer. The movie awakes within a most quaint bookshop, surrounded by copies of his first and best-selling novel. He is speaking to a group of French people. He’s eloquent, yet still sports that wee little hint of pretension we were introduced to when we met him nearly a decade earlier – before he lost his girl to obstacles simply beyond his or her control. He’s thin. Hell, he looks good – dare I say – better than he did 9 years before? I do. I dare. I did. He does. And then she enters the picture. She stands off the side. She’s beautiful as well. If I weren’t married and I saw her on a train or in a fancy Parisian bookstore, I might beg her to spend a night with me too. Who wouldn’t?
So they do it again. (Not that “IT”, you idiot, the other “IT”. The “IT” that has us lay awake at night rewinding everything we had said trying to put our finger on just what it was that would reel them in forever, or cast them out forgone. Not the “IT” that leaves us wondering if we should throw ourselves down the stairs in a few weeks, visit the gynecologist, or buy crab shampoo from a local five-and-dime).
I don’t want to make an 80 minute long post to walk anyone through an 80 minute long movie. So, I’ll try and wrap this one up, pronto. The movie is in real time. During those 80 minutes, we follow them through the streets and canals of Paris, hoping that the impending flight heading West might never come, wishing we could stop time for them. And the two reacquainted lovers fill those 80 minutes up so quickly, so well, so wonderfully, I find myself wondering
HOW ON EARTH CAN THIS END?! WHAT WILL HE DO? WILL HE LEAVE HER? Again?
You fight with yourself. Yes, do that. No, don’t touch him. Yes, touch her. No, you can’t do that, you’re married. Yes, do that, it’s just a movie. You can get your hump on, Jesse. Give Rick Springfield’s little fit some REAL meaning. Got get her, Jesse, after all, it’s just a movie.
Or is it?
And the story continued. I found myself for the first (and I hope the last) time relating to Cher and wishing I could turn back time. I mean, who doesn’t need a second chance to change things? Why not take another day or two to figure it out? Why NOT give us all a moment to go back again to see what we were like before time (bills, age, sickness, death, pain, loss, life, fear, jobs, rent, babies) took away our most exciting, pinkest, uncontaminated thoughts and desires; before someone actually said “NO.” and we believed them?
This is why I say anyone between the ages of 30 and 32 should rise up and beat the hell out of Richard Linklater; he got too damn close. These two aren’t real, are they? What did Jesse do? What did he go through while he was in Vienna six months to the day after they met. WHY DIDN’T YOU GIVE US THAT AS WELL, MR LINKLATER?
I’m working up a sweat over here. I needed that. Or something.
What I did discover during the 80 minutes between our two lovers after 9 years of not knowing a thing about them, or them about one another, was that somewhere along the (life)line I became slightly fearful and cynical. How on earth did that happen? And when did I start electing thoughts during the viewing of a (::cough:: fictional ::cough::) movie such as:
He better get his skinny ass out to that car and tell that driver he’s gonna need more time. That driver, he ain’t gonna sit there all night waiting for him. He really needs to catch that flight.
This sort of mental growth spurt must have come along sometime after I got my very first credit card and then credit card bill. This must have come along after being dumped a few times, romantically run over once or twice, and stomped on by a few “faithful” friends. This must have come along after having missed my flight to L.A. a few years back. It must have happen after finding that lump, or right after I realized not everything came in shades of pink, purple and light green.
Surely he’s gonna ask her for her cell phone again. I mean, he really has to call that driver. He’s not going to call the driver, is he?
Richard Linklater can kiss my now cellulite-covered ass. He created something not only totally wonderful on its own—present day, but he made me take a step back through the doorway and see myself as I should and could be.
Why do I always need to call the driver? Answer me that, Richard Linklater. When did I start calling the god damn driver?