Since the film takes place during the mid-late afternoon, it was the only time of day director Richard Linklater would shoot the scenes in the film. He felt it added to the hyper reality of the film, and often relied on the actors to get perfect takes at the right time.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) has married a woman because she became pregnant, and they are now in a wedding crisis. This parallels the story he told in Before Sunrise (1995), about his parents marrying because of his mother's unexpected pregnancy, and their subsequent divorce.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is in a failing marriage with a woman he married because she had become pregnant. Soon after the film's release, Hawke's real-life wife Uma Thurman, whom he had married while she was pregnant with their first child, filed for divorce for adultery.
There are several references to James Joyce; Jesse and Celine meet at "Shakespeare and Co.", a bookstore named after the original Parisian bookstore and publishing house owned by Sylvia Beach, who was the first to publish Joyce's "Ulysses".
At one point, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) reveals that his son's name is Henry, and that he is four years old. When Jesse and Celine get on the boat, he tells the driver to pick him up at "Henry Quatre," which translates to "Henry Four" or, Henry IV.