On Saturday night I sat down and watched Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. It’s the first in a trilogy of critically acclaimed romantic dramas starring Linklater’s ‘muse’ Ethan Hawke and fellow Oscar-nominee Julie Delpy. This, along with the directors recent award-winning hit Boyhood, got me thinking: the guy sure gets people.
What I mean is that he’s great at capturing human behaviour. There’s little cheese and plenty of realism embedded into his films – especially in his characters – and no more so than in his boy-to-man tale Boyhood. These characteristics also live within Before Sunrise. A genre so often mocked for being unrealistic and unforgivably soppy, it’s a film that relies on the strength of two strong-minded people, quite successfully, to delve into all things love and life.
As much as I admire the guy as a filmmaker, this ain’t no Linklater love-in. What his films prove to me is that we as human beings talk a lot of crap. As Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Delpy’s Celine stroll through Vienna discussing the rights and wrongs of the world, I couldn’t have cared less. As real as it felt, I just couldn’t stick it. This is similar to Boyhood where you’ve got Patricia Arquette’s struggling mum and whiny man-boy, Mason (Ellar Coltrane). Although I saw both as easily relatable and certainly genuine, I also found them disinteresting, and in the case of the latter, bloody annoying. If I wanted to listen to how difficult a stropey teenagers life is, I’d go on Facebook.
I’ll be the first guy to bemoan an utterly shite Nicholas Sparks adaptation (The Best of Me), but as realistic as Linklater’s characters appear, they can also be snooze-inducing. Maybe I secretly crave the make believe universe of your bog-standard cinematic romp, but one thing is for sure in my mind: realism doesn’t always guarantee entertainment.
I’ll burn in film hell for this.