10 Best Quotes From Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy

Ever since the inception of cinema, romance movies have been quite the polarizing genre among film lovers. Whether it’s a rom-com or an independent artsy romantic drama, people seem to either love romance in film or dismiss it. However, there’s one series that’s pretty hard to dislike, and that is none other than Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy, starting with Before Sunrisefollowed by Before Sunsetand concluding with Before Midnight.

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The three movies are arguably some of the most beautiful romance films ever made, each of which a surprisingly simple story. Viewers will fall in love with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) as they share many heartfelt moments together throughout the trilogy.

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Celine Gets Her Palm Read – Before Sunrise

“When The Stars Exploded Billions Of Years Ago, They Formed Everything That Is This World. Everything We Know Is Stardust. So Don’t Forget, You Are Stardust.”


Viewers of the first film in the trilogy witness a palm reader make her way over to the two in an attempt to hustle them for money. Normally, these situations are pesky and awkward, but this moment in the film is not.

As the palm reader finishes up with Celine’s hand and leaves the pair behind, she turns around and offers some surprising wisdom. She says that everything is stardust and that they should never forget that. Though this may be a cliche, it adds a unique and whimsical aspect to the legendary night that unfolds between Jesse and Celine in Before Sunrise.

Jesse Reflects On Suffering In Life – Before Sunset

“Life’s Hard. It’s Supposed To Be. If We Didn’t Suffer, We’d Never Learn Anything.”


One of Jesse’s many distinct qualities in the Before Trilogy is his ability to see the world for what it is. Ethan Hawke’s character has been through a lot, but he knows how to look at the world with both positivity and negativity at the same time.


Life is always going to be hard, and Jesse knows that. However, that doesn’t always mean that tough times are bad. Our suffering can make us grow, and isn’t growth what life is all about?

Jesse Misses His Flight Home – Before Sunset

“Baby, You Are Gonna Miss That Plane.” – Celine / “I Know.” – Jesse


In the final moments of Linklater’s trilogy sequel Before Sunset, it destroys viewers to know that Jesse is going back to his life in America, leaving his intimate connection with Celine behind. That is until she sings him a song in her apartment de ella and he stays to listen and talk with her just a little bit more.

It’s pretty obvious that Jesse will miss his flight back home, but he doesn’t care. Several more moments with Celine are worth more to him than the entire life he’s built back home. She tells him that he’ll miss the flight. Smiling, he tells her that he knows. And then the film ends.


Jesse Defines True Happiness – Before Sunset

“Happiness Is In Doing, Not In Getting What You Want.”


This series heavily explores the topic of purpose and meaning in life, and this quote is a fantastic example of that.

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According to Jesse, life is about living for the sake of living, not living for the sake of something else. That’s exactly what he means when claiming that happiness is about the journey, not the destination. If life’s only purpose is to accomplish things, nobody would ever really appreciate the process.

Celine Offers Perspective On Love – Before Sunrise

“Isn’t Everything We Do In Life A Way To Be Loved A Little More?”


Many profound topics come about in Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy, but none is more ever-present than the topic of love.


Loving someone and being loved are some of the most important experiences life has to offer, and Julie Delpy’s Celine says it herself in the middle of the trilogy’s first movie. It goes to show viewers that maybe, in fact, everything we do in life revolves around our need to be loved.

Natalia Gives Insight on Romance – Before Midnight

“Like Sunlight, Sunset, We Appear, We Disappear. We Are So Important To Some, But We Are Just Passing Through.”


Set during a beautiful summer along the Greek Peloponnesian Peninsula, Linklater’s trilogy finale, Before Midnight, features older and more quick-tempered versions of Jesse and Celine. Now married with two twin girls, Jesse and Celine undergo the typical struggles of an aging marriage. However, when the couple sits down for a pleasant summer evening dinner with friends, they’re reminded of the bigger picture.


One of the couple’s friends, Natalia, recounts the days of young love with her former partner. She talks about the feeling of completeness and beauty someone might get when looking at the smile on their face. Sure, it may be difficult to remember every detail of someone’s presence, but that doesn’t change the fact that at one point, they were right there.

Celine, On The Importance of Desire – Before Sunset

“I Feel Really Alive When I Want Something More Than Just Basic Survival Needs. I Mean, Whether It’s Intimacy With Another Person Or A New Pair Of Shoes, It’s Kind Of Beautiful. I Like That We Have Those Ever-Renewing Desires.”


One of the biggest themes facing modern consumerist cultures is whether there’s an overemphasis on desire. Often, people are made to feel ashamed for wanting so many things, even if they are constantly persuaded to buy things at the same time.

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The beauty of this quote is its argument that maybe desire isn’t so bad after all. In fact, at another point in the film, Jesse tells Celine that by nature, people are designed to be slightly dissatisfied at all times. In a way, dissatisfaction is what makes the world go ’round. Everyone is working to improve themselves, their lives, and their quality of living, and that’s something that will never change, no matter how advanced we become.

Jesse Talks About Perspectives – Before Sunset

“We All See The World Through Our Own Tiny Keyhole.”


When Jesse writes a book that is more or less about his experience meeting Celine on the train to Vienna, many people have lots of questions. The first is whether or not the book is autobiographical. Though Jesse gives the interviewers a bit of a cryptic response, he shares some profound wisdom in his answer.

Inarguably one of Richard Linklater’s most intelligent characters, Jesse says that every form of art created by a human will always be influenced by personal experience. We all see the world through our own perspective, and that brings an added beauty to the art we create, even if at times it may be limiting.

Celine Accepts The Beauty Of The Unknown – Before Midnight

“Not Knowing Is Not So Bad. I Mean, The Point Is To Be Looking, Searching, To Stay Hungry, Right?”


Similar to Celine’s previous quote in Before Sunsetthis quote from Linklater’s 2013 movie, Before Midnight, doubles down on the character’s wise words in expressing that maybe the point of this world isn’t to get everything you want or figure everything out. Instead, it’s about the search, the journey to find truth and meaning, even if it’s impossible to know everything.


Before Midnight reveals some of the less charming sides of true love as Jesse and Celine struggle to understand each other, but in the end, it reinforces the beautiful idea that we are always learning and progressing.

Celine Shares Her Belief On Spirituality – Before Sunrise

“I Believe If There’s Any Kind Of God, It Wouldn’t Be In Any Of Us, Not You Or Me, But Just This Little Space In Between.”


It’s clear throughout Before Sunrise, Before Sunsetand Before Midnight that both Jesse and Celine are two highly intelligent characters. This quote may be the most intelligent of them all.

During every moment in Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celine discover what it means to love as they get to know each other. In this case, Celine remarks on the beauty of shared understanding between two people. Regardless of one’s spiritual or religious beliefs, there’s no denying that there’s something extremely deep and special about the human ability to care for someone else and appreciate their unique perspective on her.

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