In my mind Before Sunset is the most romantic movie ever made because you know, that’s what I would want in an encounter, to talk talk talk talk talk. Seriously though, what is left unsaid, especially when the situation is complicated, is absolutely delicious. It’s even better than acting on it because there is a tension. A tension because you feel something and can either stack it up to a thing of your past or firmly place it in your future, fully aware of the damage that it will cause. There’s the scale right? To judge if it’s worth it?
I think different people will measure the stakes differently. It’s clear that Jesse and Celine try very hard to be realistic and careful but they cannot help themselves. I mean they couldn’t help themselves the first time. You only get off a train with a perfect stranger if you’re up for those games. And those are the best, most exhilarating games that you remember much later on when you have the “good” life. Who doesn’t love the beginning when you don’t know someone very well but just know how much you like them? Before Sunset is the best of the trilogy because those fantasies are more grounded. At this point they’ve had some lovers and are more self-aware so they feel like they can be as objective about the dilemma as possible. And so they go.
While I say it’s the best though, it’s certainly not the most real. If you want honesty, as raw as it comes, then watch Before Midnight to see what true intimacy means. Building a life with someone always results in scars and resentments right up there with the love. It’s just the way it is. So when you’ve been married and have had two kids, talk talk talk talking can be dangerous territory because you may not want it all to be said. But I’m an optimist and like to think that they re-group and try again, precisely because of those moments by the Seine, when they were brave enough to say what they felt and not what they should have. You do not bulldoze over your life for just anyone.