In Romance and in Movies, Guys Sometimes Get it Right

Typically, movies about the relationship between a man and a woman are targeted at women. Linklater has been able to craft a series of romantic dramas that appeal to men as well

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I suspect that many mothers spent some enjoyable time with their family this weekend taking in a movie. I know that’s what we did. How can you miss with the perfect chick flick opening this past weekend, Captain America: Civil War. The movie was great by the way. Now that Mother’s Day is in the rear view mirror, you might be looking ahead to Father’s Day and wondering what would be the perfect movie experience for the Dads out there. As you might expect, I have the perfect recommendation, the Before Sunrise trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Whaaat??? WHAAAT???

The three movies, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight are romantic dramas and were directed by Richard Linklater. You might recall Linklater directed the innovative 2014 Oscar nominee, Boyhood, which he filmed over a twelve year period using the same actors. This idea of real time filming though was no doubt borrowed from the trilogy, which was filmed over 18 years at 9 year intervals. Each movie is a peek at the state of the relationship and the lives of the two protagonists at the 9 year intervals, beginning with the meet in the 1995 Before Sunrise through the messiness of marriage in the 2013 Before Midnight.

Typically, movies about the relationship between a man and a woman are targeted at women. Linklater has been able to craft a series of romantic dramas that appeal to men as well. In fact, male IMDB voters have rated each of the movies in the trilogy higher than female voters have.


Before Sunrise 8.1 8.0 Certified Fresh 100%
Before Sunset 8.1 7.9 Certified Fresh 95%
Before Midnight 8.0 7.8 Certified Fresh 98%
Total IMDB Average 8.1 7.9

Additionally, the male dominated critics of Rotten Tomatoes have scored each of the three movies very high.

Why this series of movies has had such strong male appeal isn’t clear. Speaking personally, I remember watching Before Sunrise in 2004. Before Sunset had just been released to rave reviews and I was intrigued enough by it to seek out the prequel. I loved the movie. It was so unique and genuine. For one hour and forty minutes, from the time Jesse and Celine meet as strangers on the train until Celine gets back on the train at sunrise, Jesse and Celine have a conversation as they wander the streets of Vienna. There are no dramatic events invented to put their new love in peril. There is no neat resolution at the end with the lovers living happily ever after. Instead, you experience the spark of attraction and the “getting to know you” conversation. In the end, you get the “I’ll call you” conversation without any resolution as to whether they ever will see each other again. At the end of the movie, I remember feeling that I had just watched a movie that got it right. This is how relationships actually do happen.

According to Wikipedia, Before Sunrise was based on an actual experience Richard Linklater had while traveling by train from New York to Austin, TX. He met a young woman, Amy Lehrhaupt, on the train and they spent a day together in Philadelphia. Apparently, their paths never crossed again. In 2010, 15 years after the release of Before Sunrise, Linklater learned that Amy had died in a motorcycle accident shortly before the release of the movie she had helped inspire.

Richard Linklater understands that romance isn’t always wrapped up in a bow. When it comes to movies and romance, he is a guy who gets it right.



Author: Mad Movie Man

I love good movies. In my prior life I worked with predictive models. I've combined my love of movies with my prior experience to create a simple Bayesian probability model to help select movies that you will probably "really like".

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