I’m pretty sure the trilogy of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight is the greatest love story ever told in film. I would need to think about this for a while to confirm I’m not forgetting about some glaring omission, but at the moment, that’s my opinion on the matter.
It’s just so real, so brilliant, and cuts so closely to the heart of romantic love and what it really means to be a person in the world. I think what I love the most about these films is that it is first and foremost about being human, about all of our own ideas and doubts and passions and contradictions. The love story is central, but somehow also very secondary. First comes each of these characters as fully realized individuals, then comes their relationship.
These are interesting characters in their own right who also happen to come into one another’s lives. They make each other better, with the way they encourage and challenge one another. Yet, they are two people who choose to share some of their life with the other, not one weird amalgam where neither can be fully herself/himself and both are sucked into a weird enmeshed rat king.
I wish there were more relationships like this in media, instead of the plethora of nauseating variations of unhealthy nonsense that normally gets perpetuated as true love, but is really just some degree of either naive wish-fulfillment or poorly disguised cynicism pretending to be a family sitcom.