The Before Series consists of three movies – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, directed by Richard Linklater. In an idle time somewhere in 2012, I believe, I had watched the first two films and fell in love. The plot was quite simple, it’s just two people talking all the time, but the conversations were so good, with long takes around winding paths, trains, cafes and music shops, it was just brilliant. They have small talk, teasers and serious talks, but the tension between the two characters is just unbelievable. Such fantastic chemistry, that I hoped to see such people in real life.
This is not your ordinary love story, no strike that, this is your ordinary love story, or how one wishes it would be. What better than to spend a whole day with your partner and slowly, but surely to fall in love?
I had downloaded the third one sometime back (like 1 or years) and was watching it but got chased away after the first 10 minutes, because I apparently watch too many movies , and someone else wanted to watch a game. It later got copied to the hard disk and there it lay dormant for months, waiting for me to come back and watch. And today, I did watch the third part, Before Midnight. The characters have come a long way, more matured, but their chemistry and conversations still have that allure, and gives you a pleasant feeling. It’s a romantic movie, after all. You have discussions, fights, accusations, the whole thing. Some might complain that it feels like drama, but I did not find it to be the case. It felt like cinema, cinema with real people and places and dialogues. I was surprised to learn that they did not improvise in any scenes, especially the first 15 minutes or so, where they have uninterrupted dialogues. It felt so natural. I am truly impressed, Mr Linklater. Already been a fan before, and I was blown away by one of his other movies, “Waking Life”, that is equally stunning as well.
These movies have made me reflect a lot on life, especially during this time when many of my friends are getting married, or is planning of getting married. Being from India, some of them are still going through arranged marriages. Though I am not outright against it, it is not a particular encouraging thought. To meet a person and getting married so quickly. But I can’t blame the system either. What can one really do when you don’t have circle where you can’t meet more women, from a guy’s perspective. The women almost have no choice when it comes down to wedding, which I find sad. So many bright women who might get bogged down to being a housewife, it’s really sad.
For me, since I am single right now, I don’t have much conflicting ideas. I do float between thinking about dating a non-malayalee girl and not doing it. The “What If’s ” are a lot. Again, I won’t rule out the idea. But come, what may.
I just think it would be lovely to have such conversations, in real life. Now this could be me feeling romantic, but it would really really be nice. And when I say in real life, I mean out there, in person. Not in an dating app, even though I write better than I speak. To see a person, to talk to her eyes, watching their reaction, hearing another perspective, that would be just brilliant, won’t it?
Coming back to the movie series, I think these movies portray love, or that inital spark the best. Sure there are different ways to look at it. The setting itself is cheesy, but apart from that, the rest is perfect. The other romantic movies, or rom-coms are just too plain cheesy, and puts a lot of expectation, I feel. They try to divert our attention to the places, the clothes, the sex scenes, flashy scenes, the conversations are more plot based than actual conversations, and you can more or less second guess the next part. And most of them omit the after marriage part. This is where I feel Linklater has ousted his peers by far.