Chris Evans Is Charming America


During interviews with Chris Evans in the past year, he’s expressed interest in trying his hand at directing. (Remember when all the nerds and women OF THE PLANET gave a collective gasp at the thought of Evans leaving Captain America behind and quitting acting?) And this week, we’re finally being treated to his directorial debut in Before We Go. And while the romantics are Evans department as an actor, Before We Go as a whole was only slightly above adequate.

Chris Evans and Alice Eve star as Nick and Brooke, an unlikely pairing that accidentally met at the Grand Central Station in New York. Nick decides to help Brooke locate her stolen Prada purse and what follows is a night of light hijinks and personal revelations. The two gradually become closer as they help each other deal with their individual emotional baggage.

It’s a dialogue heavy film, so it’s really not for everyone; especially if you’re not into listening in on other people’s mundane conversation. (Come to think of it, who IS? What a creeper.) It’s something you can appreciate more if it’s a subject you can relate to, in this case, if you’re at a fork in your own relationship. There are very few movies that made talkathons like this work. One in particular that Before We Go will likely be compared to was Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy.

It’s not going over the head of anyone who’s watched that trilogy how glaringly similar this movie is to that series. (It might even have been homage, given the title ‘Before We Go’) Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were also two unsuspecting strangers creating a strong bond over a few hours’ time and both movies focus on the characters’ eloquent dialogue. A primary difference between the two though is the generally more mature tone and less in-your-face approach of the predecessor.

But that’s not to say that Before We Go was a bad movie. It had its merits, starting with the strong chemistry between the two actors. A few minutes in and you already want these two to be together. (But admittedly, that might have been in large part due to how good they both look and even more so, together.) And finding out that both of them are in other relationships made the will they or won’t they thing they had even more endearing.

Alice Eve and Chris god they're gorgeous.

The element of mystery surrounding the two characters’ pasts also kept you involved in the story. It’s not some big twist, but you do wonder what kind of relationship trauma these two have had to get them where they were at the start of the movie. And the occasional witty script kept things from being too dreary.

Chris Evans is comfortably in his element of romantic male lead as he charms Brooke and the audience with his perceptibly aching, knight in shining armor protagonist. We haven’t seen Evans in this type of role in a while, due mainly to his Marvel commitments, so it’s nice to see him back in a more introspective and intricate role like this. (Well, relative to his current recurring role, at least.)

SOOOOO profound!

Alice Eve was a tad more boring though, situating herself as the oddly helpless damsel in distress. It was only when we find out why she needs to go home so urgently that she gets to show some layer in her character.

The late night/early morning NYC backdrop helped sell the pairing’s abrupt relationship. With a city so alive, glowing, and naturally nostalgic, who wouldn’t readily fall in love? (The use of the beautiful Grand Central Station as the movie’s bookends to represent the crossroads the characters were in was particularly amusing, albeit being on the nose.) That and the occasional use of shaky cam and distinct melodramatic scoring gave the movie some nice indie sensibilities.

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If I were stuck with EITHER of these two people in NYC, even I'd fall in love in one night!

It was definitely not a bad first attempt at directing from Evans. It was a sweet and modest take on relationship truths, and how there’s that one person in your lifetime who’s absolutely perfect for you and you could easily fall for, that you’re unfortunately never meant to be with. The movie will tickle your romantic bones to a certain extent and you’ll likely appreciate the adventure that these two gorgeous actors set out to. But as okay as it was, it’s regrettably forgettable. It’s a heart-warmer, no doubt, but a fleeting one. There was nothing uniquely impressive, no striking element or distinct style. There was no moment in the film where there actors were pushed, instead, it was all very low-key.

Take my friend for example. She mistook this movie for another one of Evans’ romcoms. And the fact that she watched the movie less than a month ago is a testament to how easily Before We Go drowns in the myriad of romantic movies Evans has been in through the years. And as a film, it is without an identity of its own to stand on as well.

I also had a bit of trouble nearing the end. It started off nicely and had a very authentic and organic development, but the will they or won’t they aspect between Nick and Brooke had a jarringly muddled wrap-up, with one character seemingly jumping from one mindset to another. After all the buildup, the payoff could’ve been a bit more satisfying.

Chris Evans’ Before We Go is a pleasant movie about unpretentious/non-sugarcoated kind of love. For an hour and a half, you’ll get lost with the characters as they talk and trek the streets on nighttime New York. But that’s pretty much it. That butterflies in your stomach feeling you’ll get is going to last a few hours, a day at most, and then you head will just naturally file Before We Go under “Chris Evans romantic movies”. But hey, it’s not a bad start. We’ll see what else Mr. Evans has in store for us down the road, and as a fan, I’m more than willing to see the rest of his work. Keep it up, Cap!


*First seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles!


  1. Hindi sila bagay!!! Chris Evans can do so much better!!! :)))))