Before Sunset Reviews
"Before Sunset" is probably my number 2 favorite "romantic" movie of all time("Love Actually" being number 1). This is a sequel to "Before Sunset" and takes place 9 years later(and was actually made 9 years later). Jesse(Ethan Hawke) wrote a book about his one night in Vienna with Celine(Julie Duply) and goes on a book tour to promote it. While doing interviews on the last stop in Paris, he meets up with Celine again and they spend the day walking and talking through Paris before his flight back to the states. This movie doesn't miss a beat from the first one and is just as natural and moving. There are some very funny scenes, and some scenes that will really get your mind to work. I don't know if I've ever watched a movie that makes you see yourself through characters eyes quite as good as this movie. Also, the ending of this movie is perfect. One of my favorite all time endings ever. I remember the only reason I watched this or the first one was because it was nominated for an Oscar for best Screenplay back in 2004, and I just loved it. I don't remember what won it, but this deserved it for sure! There is a third one coming out this summer that I cannot wait to see. If you haven't seen either of the "Before" movies, then you NEED to check them out. They are absolutely fantastic that anyone who has been in a good relationship, or had a brief relationship that left you with "what ifs?" should watch. One of the rare times where the sequel is better than the already amazing original.
It builds on its predecessor, bringing with it the disappointment and responsibility of life, tackling love from yet another angle. The revelation that both have moved on, triggered by a non-event, living satisfactory, but empty lives is tragic. The recollecting of the past decade coupled with their present joy creates a bitter-sweet tone throughout, while that ending can bring only hope!
Like its predecessor, Before Sunset is short on plot and heavy on the dialogue, following Celine and Jesse through Paris as the latter kills time before flying back to the States; he has finished a book tour through Europe to promote his new novel, written about his encounter with Celine. But the conversation has changed in this continuation of the first film; they talk about how their lives unfolded in the interim between first meeting and reuniting. The change in the discussion is natural given the time that has gone by, and it's challenging material for anyone, single or otherwise. The unflinching examination of relationships and unrequited love is told with incredible technical proficiency; it is shot in real-time using long, uninterrupted takes that go on for as long as seven minutes before cutting to a new shot. Capturing actors talking to each other for that long is a feat in itself, but doing so as said actors walk through a crowded city street is nothing short of a marvel. There may be films in this decade with more panache and flair, but I guarantee you will find few that boast the same level of technical artistry.
Much has been made about the ending, but I found it to be PERFECT. The slow fade, the utter charm of Celine's Nina Simone impression, the ambiguity, and the wonderful look in Jesse's eyes as his youth, hope and happiness come rushing back to him while watching Celine dancing and singing (foreshadowed in the opening scene).
Of course Hawke and Delpy are sublime. This film requires incredibly subtle acting, and these are Oscar worthy performances that weren't recognized. Why? Because they are not showy. But don't be mistaken: this is acting at its finest. Much of this film, like life, is acted with the eyes. Witness how Hawke stares at Delpy as she discusses her failed relationships on the ferry, or the sadness and longing in Delpy's eyes as she sings her love song.
I contend that this film is better than the first, because it provides a more unique perspective. In Sunset, we see the sobering effects of age and disappointment etched in their faces and clouding their lives. There is more at stake here, for they are nine years older, have made their share of mistakes, feel imprisoned by responsibilities, and must confront their shortcomings and problems. This is how European Cinema used to be -- and Hollywood, too for that matter. Naturally real and magical in the details. An amazing achievement.
It's nine years after Jesse and Celine first met; now, they encounter one another on the French leg of Jesse's book tour.
Filmmaker Richard Linklater reunites with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in this follow-up to their romantic comedy/drama 'Before Sunrise' nine years later where the one-night standers are inevitably reunited when Hawke is in France for a book-reading of a thinly-veiled account of their wonderful day and night together. Picking up almost immediately from their last encounter the two chatty and intelligently pleasant lovers try to rekindle a lost flame but more importantly self-discover just where they are in life with some very funny and poignant almost improvised dialogue (the three artists collaborated on the script and storytelling at hand) which runs breezily thanks in large part to the exquisitely beautiful French locations in an effortless non-stop walk between the two (Lee Daniel's documentary-like cinematography gets the job done). Once again love triumphs for even the most cynical valentine wannabes.
This sequel to the wonderful and brilliant Before Sunrise is not quite the masterpiece like its predecessor is, but this still worthy of getting a letter grade of "A". Where the first film was a romantic and heartfelt story that proved to Generation X-ers that it was possible to fall in love in a non-ironic way, this one is a breezy 80 real-time examination of regret, remorse, and the hope of regaining what's been lost. It's also less of an examination of things on gendered lines, and more of a broad generational statement about how things are once people mature and enter their 30s.
Told through a series of long takes and tracking shots (but not exclusively), this story is full of heart, wisdom, and pain, but not once does it come across as false, pandering, or fantastical. It's just as real and touching as the first film, although, as to be expected, the romanticness of things is restrained. These charactrs have mostly moved on and matured, although Jesse seems to have taken longer to do so. Celine on the other hand, is just about as miserable and unsatisfied, but is carrying a lot more neuroses than before.
The way I'm writing might make it sound like this movie is really a bummer, and it is to an extent, but not really. Honestly, it's kind of hard for me to explain it. Let's just say that it's not all sugar coated, but it's not all gloom and doom either. The performances are once again excellent, if not maybe just a tad better than before. The camera work is nice, the writing is sharp, and the ending is the best possible conclusion that there could be given the nature of the situation and characters.
One could probably see this without having seen the first one and probably get it, but I wouldn't recomend that. See Before Sunrise, then see this one. Doing so will take a bit more time, but it is totally worth it and it makes this one even better. So yeah, I recommend this one, but take the above advice first.