Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy may not readily come to mind as a great romantic movie couple, but they have wonderful charm and chemistry in a trio of little known but widely respected films perfect for Valentine's Day. Hawke's a Texan known mostly for gritty crime dramas. Delpy is a French actress primarily known for the grungy and violent cult crime caper "Killing Zoe" and some TV work. Writer-director Richard Linklater brought them together as romantic leads in 1995's "Before Sunrise."
They play Jesse and Celine, two strangers who meet on a train and wind up walking the streets of Vienna until Jesse's next train arrives. In simple yet captivating cinema verite style they visit cafe's and take in the nighttime Viennese sights while conversing about themselves and life in general and falling hopelessly in love. We leave them pledging to meet again in a year.
"Before Sunset" (2004) reunites them, this time in Paris, nine years later. They both make excuses on why they missed their previously planned date and then pick up as though it was yesterday. However Jesse is married now and Celine is none too thrilled with the book he has written about their night in Vienna. Jesse's final two words in the film are beautiful understated perfection.
If you still want more, Linklater made a trilogy with 2013's "Before Midnight." Nine more real time years have passed. While vacationing in Greece, conflict develops between Jesse and Celine as they look back on their lives.