I finally did manage to watch this movie on the weekend and it was a great experience. Although you must have gotten a sense about what the movie is about, here is the plot in brief below.
Jesse is a young American recently broken up with his girlfriend who he was visiting in
Jesse and Celine have something that some of us have experienced. It is that almost instant chemistry and a sense of connectedness that you at first only sense and that grows as you interact with and spend more time with that person. I think to capture this on screen is a very hard task to do, not just for the director but also for the screenwriter and the principal actors. How does one convey this growing admiration and attraction for each other? Richard Linklater, the director and screenwriter succeeds at this in two ways, one is the amazing, inspired witty dialogue that just completely draws you in to the movie and does not let go till the movie ends.
The other is with the body language that we see between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as they so convincingly portray the characters they are playing and you completely forget they are mere actors.
You truly have to see this movie to understand how well this works. I am going to try and capture this for you through a few scenes that stayed with me long after the movie ended.
There is this scene in a record store. Jesse and Celine are listening to Kath Bloom's "Come Here". It is one of those listening booths I have never seen, almost like a telephone booth. It is this enclosed space and if you already have this chemistry that you sense is developing with the other person, what would an enclosed space with great music do to you? So it is amazing as you watch them making quick eye contact and then looking away. We can feel the mutual attraction they have as well as their excitement and the slight awkwardness of these moments.
There are other more subtle scenes, the way they play with the salt/pepper shakers on their table in the dining car as they talk to each other, and they are both very good actors, especially in this movie.
They kiss atop a giant Ferris wheel overlooking a dusky
There is an understated, relaxed, unhurried and beautiful pace to this movie including some great lines. Not to spoil it for those of you who may actually want to watch this movie. But I liked these lines because of the deeper (call it philosophical if you will) underpinnings behind the words.
Jesse talks about never having been anywhere, where he hasn’t been before. Like how he has never felt a kiss that he has not been a part of. I think he is referring to doing things with his all poured in to it, sort of like wearing your heart on your sleeve or something. He also talks about perhaps people hating themselves because they are always around.
Celine talks about dying and how the few seconds of consciousness when you know you are going to die are the ones that scare her the most. This conversation comes out of her fear of flying.
The line in the movie that I completely loved, happens when Celine talks about the manifestation of god. She thinks it happens in the spaces between people.
Jesse talking about dealing with the fact that his father did not want him to be born. He says it feels like he is at a party where he is not supposed to be at but he is crashing anyway and making the most of it.
As Jesse and Celine are walking around
There is also a lovely rendition of a part of the W.H. Auden poem by Jesse towards the end of the movie as they know they are about to go their own ways.
There are many more great moments in the movie but this one was also touching. They have this game at a café where Jesse and Celine both pretend like they are making phone calls to imaginary friends at home and telling them about the other. As they go through this we can see how they admit the depth of their feelings about each other.
From wikipedia what I also found out was that he plot of the movie was conceived by the director Richard Linklater, who shared a similar experience with a woman named Amy when they spent a whole night talking as they roamed the streets of Philadelphia.
Ok I have rambled long enough, this movie is highly recommended but that is just the opinion of some guy with a blog so make what you will of that. It is a funny, romantic, touching and a poignant movie. It reminds me of why we fall in love and that the process never really ends.