Featurette! Justina Chen + Before Sunset

Before Sunset is my #1 favorite movie of all time, which is something I've mentioned on a few different occasions. It's the second film in a series by director Richard Linklater. The first movie Before Sunrise came out in 1995. Low-budget, didn't make it big in mainstream movie theatres but it was critically-acclaimed and later became a cult classic. It's such a simple plot too. Two people meet on a train and decide to get off at Vienna together and spend the entire day/night walking and talking. The only reason why I saw it is because a family friend made me. I must've been 14 or 15 at the time and while I liked it, I didn't love it then. The meaning of it was definitely lost on me at that age but that changed as I got older. Then fast-forward to college when Before Sunset came out in 2004 and the way it made me feel? Well, I don't think I've ever reacted so strongly to a movie in my life.

Whereas Before Sunrise is romantic and idealistic, Before Sunset is more raw and tinged with this mix of regret and hope. It's about missed connections, second chances, the hope that soulmates exist, love, getting older and everything in between. The movie is just so beautiful and the actors, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, are nothing short of amazing in it. They become these two people and it's hard not to find pieces of yourself in them and in their conversations with each other.

Again, this is a movie most people don't know about which is why I was surprised to see it referenced in North of Beautiful by Justina Chen. The kind of surprised where I had to take a picture of said reference and post it on Instagram in my excitement. So basically, you need to read North of Beautiful, watch Before Sunset and read what the lovely Justina Chen has to say about both!


For a woman whose life is steeped in serendipity, chance encounters, and God’s hand at work, it seems only inevitable that Before Sunrise and its sequel Before Sunset are the movie anthems of my life.

When I needed to know how being mixed race could impact cancer treatment for a novel, I happened to sit next to a nurse at a conference who worked for the doctor who pioneered that very treatment. I’ve bumped into a friend on a golf course in Scotland, chanced upon a favorite professor in a tiny corner café in Paris. When I needed a lawyer, a respected colleague recommended one to me. Out of the million or so people who reside in Seattle, guess who lived next door to that very lawyer? My parents.

So when I started writing about a girl who is deeply afraid that she’ll never be loved for herself because of the port wine stain on her cheek—I knew that her movie anthem would have to be Before Sunset. The two characters in the movie are reunited after a decade hiatus, only to fall even harder for each other by talking. Getting to know each other at a deep, intimate level. And that is Terra’s deepest wish in North of Beautiful. To be known and loved for herself.

I think my newest novel, A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS, is my biggest homage to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I absolutely love the notion of Serendipity (another great movie!)—how coincidences and chance encounters can bring our lives into sharper focus, set us on the right path, place us to meet the person we are supposed to know. So take a girl with a broken heart who has sworn off relationships with a Boy Moratorium. Add a chance bike accident that collides her into Quattro, a lacrosse boy who’s on a Girl Moratorium. And you get sparks to the nth degree!

Oddly, I can’t bring myself to watch the last movie in the trilogy, Before Midnight. I don’t think I'm ready to watch Jesse and Celine tear each other apart in arguments because life together has let them down. Although perhaps if I watch it, I’ll get inspired for another book. Stay tuned!


Thank you Justina for stopping by the blog today! 
I hope we convinced you to check out this movie! 

More about Justina's awesome book here.

FYI, A Blind Spot for Boys came out on August 12th! Add it to your TBR!

And with that, here's one of my favorite lines from the movie: 

(P.S. I really hope you guys liked the new feature! I already have two other author/movie pairings in mind. But some of my other favorite movies include: Almost Famous, Once, Two For the Road, Labyrinth, Strictly Ballroom, Little Mermaid and Empire Records. If you know of any authors who love these movies too, please email or tweet me! Thanks!) 


  1. I loved North of Beautiful and Before Sunset has been on my list for a while. I haven't watched the movie (any of them) yet but I'll try to! The idea of serendipity is one that I believe in and find interesting. The way Justina Chen describes it is perfect, too, "how coincidences and chance encounters can bring our lives into sharper focus, set us on the right path, place us to meet the person we are supposed to know". I love this new feature, Rachel! Very excited for A Blind Spot For Boys, as well!

  2. .... And now I want to watch the entire set of movies! I really feel an urge to just sink into the films and let them speak to me and take me where they may. And yes, I'm waxing a bit philosophical but isn't that part and parcel of the experience of these films? I think it's really awesome that you + Justina share this movie in common among your favorites! (And I also think her next novel sounds fantastic.) Still have to read her book! :D

  3. I LOVE this movie!! Actually the first one is my favourite, it had a real impact on me, because I deeply connected with Celina and her thoughts on the different issues they discussed, their idealism ringed so true to me. Nevertheless, I got a chance to watch the second movie again a few weeks ago, and I liked it better than the time before. It's hard not to love this couple. I haven't been able to get around watching the last one, though. I want to binge watch the whole three, so I don't miss anything. It's so cool that you love this movie. And how cool is to have a book inspired by it?! Like a thousand! I need to read this book now, no question about it. This is a very fun and original feature.


with love,