Brushing Up On Conversation With The 'Before' Trilogy

before sunrise

Some of the talkingest films ever made (that weren’t even made by Quentin Tarantino) teach us how to talk better.

Richard Linklater is a rambling man. His films weave in and out of things that matter like a drunk in an antique shop. His masterpieces, the Before trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight) take the conversational ability of Linklater, mix it with the real-time aging of characters like he used in Boyhood, and end up wonderful.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are great at talking to each other, but their conversation works so well because well, they wrote it. Actors created their own dialogue, which is as close as you can get to characters speaking their minds. That they’d been working together as the same characters for almost two decades by the final film only makes things easier.

Andrew Saladino’s video essay admires the realism of the conversations, analyzing its place as both star and structure of the films. Most films have dialogue around their plots, while this series is only the dialogue. Unpacking what that means for us as viewers helps us learn what we like in discussions with folks in the real world.

More to Read:

Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).