As movie watchers, readers, and just members of society, we are constantly bombarded with images of true love: princesses finding their Prince Charmings, Elizabeth Bennets finding their Mr. Darcys, and Ladies finding their Tramps (yup, animals are definitely included in this). This commonly creates unrealistic expectations for people. As a result, some people demand perfection, while others wonder why 'the one' never bounds through the dull windows at work, sweeps them out of their uncomfortable desk chair, and places them ever so gently onto the back of his noble steed (aka a White Ford Mustang). This is unfortunate because real relationships can be even better than the perfect fantasy.
This is clearly visible in writer and director Richard Linklater's Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight) . The uniqueness and ingenuity of this man's directing style is astounding. We are able to literally watch a relationship grow and change. He made three films about a single couple, each film approximately 10 years apart, using the same two main actors. The film's style focuses on dialogue and minimal action--much like life. The majority of the movies are walking and talking, with the occasional distraction here and there (palm reader, coffee shop etc.). What is so beautiful about this trilogy is the representation of love. It is not perfect, there are fights, hateful words, and resentments. And yet, despite all of that negativity, the positivity far outweighs it: laughter, sweetness, acceptance, intimacy.
Here are 6 of my favorite quotes from the Before Trilogy that encapsulate what real love is:
1. "But loving someone, and being loved means so much to me. We always make fun of it and stuff. But isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?" —Celine, Before Sunrise
2. "If there's any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed, but…who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt."—Celine, Before Sunrise
3. "When you talked earlier about after a few years how a couple would begin to hate each other by anticipating their reactions or getting tired of their mannerisms-I think it would be the opposite for me. I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone-the way he's going to part his hair, which shirt he's going to wear that day, knowing the exact story he'd tell in a given situation. I'm sure that's when I know I'm really in love. —Celine, Before Sunrise
4. "You can never replace anyone because everyone is made up of such beautiful specific details."—Celine, Before Sunset
5. "I guess when you're young, you just believe there'll be many people with whom you'll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times."—Celine, Before Sunset
6. Jesse: "You're just like the little girls and everybody else. You wanna live inside some fairy tale. I'm just trying to make things better. I tell you that I love you unconditionally, I tell you that you're beautiful, I tell you that your ass looks great when you're 80. I try to make you laugh."
Jesse: "All right, I put up with plenty of your shit. And if you think I'm just some dog who's gonna keep coming back, then you're wrong. But if you want true love, then this is it. This is real life. It's not perfect, but it's real. And if you can't see it, then you're blind, all right, and I give up." —Before Midnight
Milkshakes (Poem from Before Sunrise)
Oh, baby with your pretty face
Drop a tear in my wineglass
Look at those big eyes
See what you mean to me
Sweet cakes and milkshakes
I am a delusion angel
I am a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
Don’t want you to guess anymore
You have no idea where I came from
We have no idea where we’re going
Lodged in life
Like two branches in a river
Caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me?
Don’t you know me by now?