I pride myself on seeing as many films as possible but every once in a while I realize I have missed something important or popular or critically adored and I seek films like that out.
Richard Linklater's best films (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Fast Food Nation, A Scanner Darkly, Tape) are stories that always feel believeable and honest. Even with the visual/technological conceit of A Scanner Darkly, the film still was a personal story that was grounded in reality that while heightened, seemed plausible.
Before Sunrise may be his best film. And I feel like a schmuck for having waited so long to see it. The set up is simple: Ethan Hawke is a recently dumped American dude who is backpacking across Europe. He meets-cute with an adoreable French girl played by Julie Delpy on a train and the two of them hit it off instantly. The entire film consists of the two of them talking, eating, kissing, and worrying about when they will have to say good bye to each other. Hawke has a plane to catch the next morning after meeting Delpy and he doesn't want to leave. Who would?
The will-they-stay-together question will leave you waiting with baited breath for the perfect, and sensible conclusion. The writing is brilliant. Brilliant. They talk like the way real people talk, the small moments and glances they exchange are perfect, and there is honest chemisty between the two of them. I loved every line of dialogue in this film and I can't wait to see what happens in the sequel, Before Sunset, which came out a few years ago and was Oscar nominated for Hawke and Delpy's script (Linklater co-wrote the first film).
If you haven't seen this little gem of a movie, I highly recomend that you do.