Oct. 1, 2020

All the Words Romance/Before Sunrise, Before Sunset & Destination Wedding

All the Words Romance/Before Sunrise, Before Sunset & Destination Wedding

In this episode, I talk about some of the wordiest rom coms ever, and why I can't get enough of these romances.

Show notes at: http://www.confessionsofaclosetromantic.com

This clip from Destination Wedding is the scene just prior to the one I discuss in this episode. You say puma, I say mountain lion, it's all hysterical: https://youtu.be/ICVNRU90Z-Q

The Q&A scene from Before Sunrise: https://youtu.be/sbwzV4cN90I

And the stop the car scene from Before Sunset: https://youtu.be/TUbgKkn9qFw


All the words romance: Before Sunset, Before Sunrise/Destination Wedding

When I first saw the romantic drama Before Sunrise  I was around same age as the characters of Jesse and Celine.  I'm a  bookish person who has always used all the words –it's just how i process the world. Words and books have always been my coping mechanism.  

I used to think  I could power through anything with just my intellect.  I analyzed my way through my dating relationships, my family relationships— the tightest emotional knots. 

My ex-husband and I met as penpals and used all the words to fall in love. We wrote letters back and forth every month for more two years before we met. There were a few mix tapes thrown in, too. He was a writer based in London, I was a writer in the Midwest, words were our bridge.

So for a person like me who has always taken an analytical approach to love, these movies are the ideal romances. 

Jesse and Celine are the central characters of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset  and Before Midnight and they strike me as similar people. Smart and cultured but a bit anxious,  self-absorbed, stuck their own heads.

The plots of this romantic film trilogy are very basic. In Before Sunrise, Jessie , played by Ethan Hawke, is heading to Vienna and Celine, played by Julie Delphy, is heading home to Paris.  They meet on a train,  start talking and really connect, so Jesse persuades her to get off the train with him in Vienna.

He doesn't have money for a hotel so they spend the night walking around the city and talking until his flight back to the US in morning. Nine years later, they meet up again in Before Sunset this time in Paris after Celine discovers that Jesse has a book signing at her favorite bookshop. They spend afternoon before his flight back to NY reconnecting. 

In Before Midnight they’re nine years older and all that wordiness isn't to impress each other but help them explore and sort out the messy real life stuff that comes from  loving someone over years.

I love parts 2 ansd 3 of the trilogy so much because now they're in their early 30s and then near 40. We've gotten older and aged along with the real-life actors and the characters. The conversation is less frantic — they're more resigned about who they are and where they are in life but they remind each other of their younger, more adventurous selves just under the surface.

As hours go by Before Sunset, they confess that their current relationships haven't lived up to the promise of their early 20s romance.

 And by end of afternoon they don't come to any conclusions but only cement the special connection they have with each other, to the point where they can be utterly bare and real.

You can just hear Celine’s hurt and disappointment, that eternal hope in romance still there, just under the surface.

At this point , I am so impressed  with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who created this script along with the director Richard Linklater. I imagine there was a lot of rehearsal and improvisation because this film feels even deeper and more authentic than the first one. 

if you like deep conversations that take twists and turns, with plenty of romantic subtext you'll be transfixed by these movies. 

Speaking of being brutally honest in a rom com, I recently re-watched the rom-com Destination Wedding with Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder, who play emotionally barricaded misanthropes from California -- which is quite the oxymoron.

This movie is the enemies to friends trope wrapped in a slightly over-the-top, smatypants Woody Allen-esque brand of romantic comedy.  The lightly manic, type A pacing makes me wish a romance between two intellectual powerhouses like Lindsey and Frank was possible in real-life without complications.

Mini confession time.  I have had a secret crush on Keanu Reeves for years. First he is shaggy adorable like a sheepdog and I’ve always felt there was a soulfulness and intelligence to his performances especially movies like The Lake House.

I know some people feel that movie is cheesy but I will hear no trash talking about it. He is the sexiest time traveling architect ever— that's all I'll say right now about that one. 

The character he creates in Destination Wedding is so self-effacing and charmingly neurotic that he makes a perfect partner for Wynona Rider’s adorable neurotic singleton.

The story is one of those "there's a lid for every pot" type romance. Lindsey and Frank meet, not in a meet-cute but more like a meet-hate at a tiny airport in California on their way to mutual acquaintance’s wedding. 

We know nothing about them but we quickly realize they’re slightly acquainted but have heard nothing but awful things about the other. They rub each other the wrong way over and over again, make massive assumptions, sling witty insults.

But the one thing they bond over is their mutual hatred of the wedding couple. The fact that Reeves and Ryder make this couple even remotely appealing is a testament to their acting because they are united in the most mean and negative view of the world that I think has ever made it the silver screen.

They gird themselves for an agonizing weekend of pretending  they are fans of romance while locked in their own private hell. But, naturally, according to the trope, they’re thrown together at every turn. First on the tiny plane upstate,  then in the hired car to the resort, then in adjoining rooms in the cheesy hotel. 

They begin to sense somebody is having a huge joke on them but the plan seems to be working—they start finding humor each other's poor coping skills and realize there aren't many other people who can hate so cleverly, using such big concepts, and start to thaw towards each other.

 At the wedding,  as guests start to dance, Lindsey and Frank decide they can't stand all of the sentimental hogwash and take a walk.

The destination wedding is in gorgeous  wine country but of course they can't stop talking long enough to notice anything around them even when a mountain lion crosses their path. After some amusing analysis paralysis, one of them decides they should  just run for it. They trip and roll down a hill, sit up and…

in a movie about two awkward intellectual neurotics, what could doing the dirty at a wedding reception be, except hysterically awkward? Especially because these two can't stop talking at each other even when they're in the midst. 

They live in California, but “Be here now” is not a Zen lesson they have picked up. Anywhere.

This scene is funny, real and painful at the same time — when you hear heavy breathing  they are literally grabbing each other, kissing each other, then shoving each other to the ground.

I mean…why not? Maybe an orgasm will calm them both down — if they can get through it without killing the buzz with a play-by-play. I’ll post some movie  clips in my show notes at confessions of a closet romantic.com because their whole dysfunctional ballet is worth seeing.

I'm guessing romances like these are very particular taste — there must be 1000 words per page in this script like the Gilmore Girls, so if that show makes you a bit squirrley this movie will drive you nuts.

But I love an overly wordy, intellectual love story like these, so I’ll probably watch the rom-com Destination Wedding again just to see that sex scene again and catch every bit of clever banter. 

You know, it makes me think I have also loved all the words in the bedroom. Apologies to my former partners. I can only hope I was a just little bit charming with it… 

And now my dear friend Liz enters the confessional about the “Before" trilogy of movies…

I've known Liz for years and this is something I didn't know about her! Oooh the power of the confessional.

 I’d love to feature YOUR romantic confessions on the podcast: your favorite romantic movie, TV show, book or your first kiss…Confess on your phone—record a voice memo, click share, and email to confessions of a closet romantic.@ gmail,com. Don’t forget to let me know if you want your confession to be private or shared!

 Any Sound effects you hear are courtesy of the good people at freesound.org under a creative commons license.

Find Show notes with links to what I've been babbling about at  confessionsofaclosetromantic.com 

So nice to have your company! Until next time, wishing you shame-free romance!