Have you ever spent your sleepless nights overthinking the conversations you’ve had over the day, and blaming yourself for not having come up with a better answer, a funnier joke, some more helpful advice? “I could have put it like this,” “I could have answered this instead of that,” “why haven’t I said this, if it’s so clear in my head?? – these are the kind of regrets we can’t but deal with in our everyday life as, unfortunately, there are no screenwriters brilliantly masterminding the dialogues we’re going to have. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a script to follow, though? Wouldn’t our conversations be much easier and much more entertaining? While we keep dreaming of the day “life screenwriters” will be born in this world, why not take inspiration from the fictional one? Film and television archives are full of movies and TV series where characters have the smartest, funniest, most touching conversations that make us wish we could be as nimble and brave as to be able to have them ourselves. Sometimes they get into well balanced conversational exchanges, where both characters participate with equal intensity in the dialogue; other times it’s more of a “give me the line” kind of situation, where one character acts more as a backing for the other one who’s the main “preacher,” a sort of half-monologist who inevitably steals the show. In line with this kind of approach, we chose to share with you our list of the best dialogues in movies and TV shows sectioning it into “Fair Exchange” and “Give me the line” conversations: take your time, then take a deep breath, and eavesdrop some beautiful speeches.
“Before Sunrise” (1995)
Written by: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan
Céline and Jesse are walking down a busy street when they come across a crowd gathered around a woman dancing to the sound of cymbals. She performs an unusual and exciting dance which visibly moves Céline. Then, she and Jesse proceed down the street and start a conversation about primal and celebratory dances.
Jesse: But, uh, just one question back there. When the women are being all spiritual and dancing for the gods and themselves and stuff, where are the men? Out food gathering? Just not allowed? See, y’all don’t need us?
Céline: Men are lucky we don’t bite off their heads after mating. Certain insects do that, you know – spiders and stuff. We, at least, let you live. What are you complaining about?
Jesse: You’re officially kidding, but you keep bringing that up. There is something to that.
Céline: No, no, no. Okay, speaking seriously here. I mean, I feel this pressure to be a strong and independent icon of womanhood and not have it look like my life is only revolving around some guy, but the love of a man and returning that love means a lot to me. I always make fun of it and stuff, but isn’t everything we’re doing in life a way to be loved a little more or something?
“Call Me By Your Name” (2017)
Written by: James Ivory
Elio reveals his feelings for Oliver by the war monument. The scene was filmed in one take and in a wide shot, which “took away the whole cringey Hollywood feeling. If you mute the movie, you can’t tell it’s somebody telling somebody else that they are in love with them.” (T. Chalamet for i-D Magazine November 2018 issue)
Oliver: Is there anything you don’t know?
Elio: I know nothing Oliver. Nothing, just nothing.
Oliver: You know more than anyone around here.
Elio: If you only knew how little I know about the things that really matter.
Oliver: What things that matter?
Elio: You know what things. By now you of all people should know.
Oliver: Why are you telling me all this?
Elio: Because I thought you should know.
Oliver: Because you thought I should know.
Elio: Because I want you to know. Because there is no one else I can say this to but you.
Oliver: Are you saying what I think you’re saying?
“Euphoria” – Special Episode “Trouble Don’t Last Always. Part 1: Rue” (2020)
Written by: Sam Levinson
It’s Christmas Eve, and Rue and her sponsor Ali sit opposite each other at the booth by the window in an almost empty dining room. Ali is eating pancakes, while Rue has barely touched her own serving. They start a long and deep conversation about sobriety, happiness, misery, religion, and life in general.
Rue: The world’s just really fuckin’ ugly, you know? It’s really fuckin’ ugly, and, um… Everybody seems to be okay with it, you know? The anger. The level of anger. Everyone’s just out to make everyone else not seem human. And I don’t really want to be a part of it. I don’t even want to witness it. Sure, it’s not, like, the root of all my problems, but I definitely think about it. A lot.
Ali: Because thinking about those questions, those ideas, they’re a large part of, uh… what makes this life worth living. Right? That’s what I was talking about earlier. You gotta believe in the value of poetry. The value of two people sitting in a diner on Christmas Eve, talking about life, addiction, loss. You don’t want to be a part of it, Rue, because… you care about the big things in life.
“We Are Who We Are” – Episode 3 “Right Here Right Now III” (2020)
Written by: Paolo Giordano, Francesca Manieri, Luca Guadagnino
Caitlin has begun to spend most of her time with the new kid, Fraser, as the fracture within her former friend group gets deeper and deeper. The water is calm while Caitlin and Fraser are lying on the floor of Caitlin’s dad’s boat: she’s eating some cookies, he’s reading a book of poetry by Ocean Vuong.
Caitlin: Why do you read poetry?
Fraser: Same reason that I hate your clothing. It’s fast-fashion. You buy stuff you think you like and in two months it goes in the garbage. I want stuff that means something.
Fraser: The same goes for poetry. Every word means something.
Caitlin: Never kissed anyone before, have you ?
Caitlin: Not even Mark?
Fraser: It wasn’t like that.
Caitlin: It wasn’t like what?
“GIVE ME THE LINE”
“American Beauty” (1999)
Written by: Alan Ball
Ricky and Jane are at Ricky’s house. It’s the first time he brings Jane at his place. Ricky takes the girl in his father’s study and shows her the cabinet where Colonel Fitts holds some war memorabilia, including an oval china platter from the Nazi era. Ricky notices that Jane is giving him an odd look.
Ricky: What’s wrong?
Ricky: No, you’re scared of me.
Jane: No, I’m not.
Ricky: You want to see the most beautiful thing I’ve ever filmed?
The video shows an empty plastic bag floating in an empty parking lot.
Ricky: It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing, and there was this electricity in the air. You can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just, dancing with me, like a little kid beggin’ me to play with it – for fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember – I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world – I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is just going to cave in.
“Girls” – S2x3 “Bad Friend” (2013)
Written by: Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward
Hannah has just bumped uninvited into Marnie’s house after her roommate and ex-boyfriend Elijah confessed that he and Marnie slept together. Hannah is terribly mad with Marnie for not telling her and, behind the kitchen table, they start a conversation about the values of friendship.
Marnie: Hannah, I’m very sorry. I really didn’t want you to hear about it like this, I really really didn’t.
Hannah: I don’t need you to say sorry, Marnie. That’s not why I came. That’s boring, okay? What I actually need is for you to recognize that maybe I’m not the bad friend and you’re not the good friend, okay? So you know what, Marnie? I don’t need to play by your rules anymore, okay? I don’t wanna walk with you to the far-away Rite Aid to pick up your Cipro prescription. And I’m sorry, I don’t want to go to Serendipity and drink frozen hot chocolates with your uncle’s girlfriend who is a stewardess named Elodie. And I definitely, definitely don’t care about putting on appropriate pants, because one can really go through their whole life wearing shorty shorts and offend almost nobody.
Marnie: You could…
Hannah: That’s not what makes somebody a good or a bad friend. What makes you a good friend is not doing something that you know will intentionally really hurt another person. And you did that!
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2013)
Written by: Stephen Chbosky
Charlie, Patrick and Sam sit at their booth in the dining room where they had their first meal together. Sam and Patrick have their coffee. Charlie has his brownie. Sam puts a cassette tape down on the table.
Sam: I found the tunnel song. Let’s drive.
They get in Sam’s car and David Bowie’s “Heroes” starts blaring. Charlie gets into the back of the truck. He sits down, looking back at the highway. Then, he looks at Sam.
Charlie [V.O.]: Because I know there are people who say all of these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be 16 when they turn 17. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. And we’ll all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here. And I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And as you stand up and see the lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you are listening to that song on that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear… we are infinite.
“Fleabag” – S2x4 “Decisions, decisions…” (2019)
Written by: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Fleabag has fallen for the world’s least available sort of man: a Catholic priest. Although she’s an inflexible atheist, the priest manages to slip her in a confessional booth, where, for the first time, we see Fleabag truly open up and reveal herself to a fellow human being.
Fleabag: I know exactly what I want right now.
The Priest: What’s that?
Fleabag: It’s bad.
The Priest: It’s okay.
Fleabag: I want someone to tell me what to wear in the morning.
The Priest: Okay, well, I think there are people who can…
Fleabag: No, I want someone to tell me what to wear every morning. I want someone to tell me what to eat, what to like, what to hate, what to rage about, what to listen to, what band to like, what to buy tickets for, what to joke about, what not to joke about. I want someone to tell me what to believe in, who to vote for, and who to love, and how to tell them. I just think I want someone to tell me how to live my life, Father, because so far I think I’ve been getting it wrong. And I know that’s why people want people like you in their lives. Because you just tell them how to do it. You just tell them what to do, and what they’ll get out of the end of it. Even though I don’t believe your bullshit, and I know that scientifically nothing I do makes any difference in the end anyway, I’m still scared! Why am I still scared?! So just tell me what to do. Just fucking tell me what to do, Father!