In honor of Valentine's Day, our staff will be sharing some of their favorite romantic scenes all day long.
From its first moments sliding through the streets of Paris, to the final, crooning comfort of Nina Simone, Before Sunset is the romance that most films grasp for, but could never achieve -- soulmates in the real world. Ethan Hawke's Jesse and Julie Delpy's Celine are, at once, both icons of unobtainable and perfect love, and real, damaged, cynical beings suffering from a loss of idealism and the hard breaks in life. And nothing embodies it more perfectly than the car scene. I've written about this before, but never touched on what makes this the most romantic and real scene I've ever witnessed.
Jesse and Celine knew each other for a mere 24 hours before the were separated for 10 long years. Finally, they've reunited, walking through Paris and catching up on each other's lives. Jesse hides his pain in humor and earnestness, so desperate to reconnect with Celine that he will take it too far with bluntness and wide-eyed hope. Celine, meanwhile, is reserved. She cautiously reveals small segments of her life, deflecting Jesse's obvious advances and keeping her own inner turmoil well-hidden ... until they're riding in the car. Social niceties lose their power as the genuine, and heart-breaking feelings surface.