Before Sunset


Before Sunset

Critics Consensus

Filled with engaging dialogue, Before Sunset is a witty, poignant romance, with natural chemistry between Hawke and Delpy.



Total Count: 174


Audience Score

User Ratings: 70,913
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Movie Info

Nine years ago, two strangers met by chance, spent a night together in Vienna, and parted before sunrise. Now, they're about to cross paths again--in Paris--where they will get the chance we all wish we had: to find out what might have been. The only problem is they have just a few hours to figure out if they belong together.


Vernon Dobtcheff
as Bookstore Manager
Louise Lemonie Torres
as Journalist No. 1
Louise Lemoine Torres
as Journalist #1
Rodolphe Pauly
as Journalist No. 2
as Philippe
Denis Evrard
as Boat Attendant
Albert Delpy
as Man at Grill
Marie Pillet
as Woman in Courtyard
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News & Interviews for Before Sunset

Critic Reviews for Before Sunset

All Critics (174) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (165) | Rotten (9)

  • It's a lovely, beguiling little film a rare treat during this overheated season of blockbusters. It's also an unusual example of a follow-up that doesn't seem forced, but expands effortlessly on the original.

    Aug 8, 2012 | Full Review…
  • The reunion has some lively moments, but a great deal of slow walking and fatuous talking about love, married life and sex.

    Aug 8, 2012 | Full Review…
  • Shooting in long takes, Linklater and his actors (who get co-screenwriting credit) allow the conversation to curlicue effortlessly from literate banter to matters of the heart, and sometimes to places in between.

    Aug 8, 2012

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Before Sunset retains most of what was engaging about the first movie: it has its gentleness, its romanticism and, most importantly, its idealism. What it has lost is the sense of mystery.

    Aug 25, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • At the risk of overhyping 80 minutes of intimate real-time, this is the soul of generosity, a beautifully vibrant and big-spirited film.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are a rare case of two movies that rightfully demand yet another sequel.

    Aug 1, 2004

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Before Sunset

  • May 28, 2014
    The original Richard Linklater classic featured two fresh, young voices, finding each other in a spontaneous bohemian kind of way. Nine years, and a trail of failed relationships later, and our lovers find each other in Paris, beginning again from the ruins of their shared past. Beautiful for its Parisian sights, but also for its lovelorn dialogue, this film works principally because it's a simple tale of love, having less to do with a pair's story and more with the mechanics of their love affair. The characters are interesting, their conversations are crisp and new, and we as the audience revel in their experience, but also in finding out the answers to our questions from the first film. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke work well together to create an organic and truly magical partnership as Celine and Jesse, and we watch because of their chemistry. The films not only circle around an interesting couple, but show love's evolution and fragility.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2014
    I don't know about you guys, but I feel like this film's title is too similar to its predecessor's, so much so that I keep getting them confused, although that might just be because the films themselves are also too similar. No, this is a distinguished sequel, as it is distinctly more well-shot, and plus, where "Before Sunset"-I mean, "Before Sunrise" would have times where it cut to later points in the afternoon of non-stop talking between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, this sequel really hardcore and focuses on the entire interactions between Hawke and Delpy... [b][u]in real time[/u][/b]. ...Granted, they only talk for around 80 minutes, so don't worry too much, people expecting this to be, like, two-and-a-half hours of abstract ramblings and imagery and whatnot. I can understand why you would fear that this film would be like that, even though the predecessor didn't get all that artistically overblown, not just because this film actually takes place in Paris, French, your one-stop shop for some of the most stereotypical art films ever toked out of an art student's head, but because a title like the ones attached to this film and its predecessor aren't going to get any less pretentious-sounding in nine years. I would say that one might also expect Richard Linklater to hold onto the pretentious "art" filmmaking styling that he applied to "Waking Life", but if Linklater wasn't on enough of a high with grounded entertainment when he did "Before Sunrise" after "Dazed and Confused" (Notice that I said "high" and "after" after "Before"; that's about as trippy as "Dazed and Confused"), this film was his follow-up to "School of Rock". Yeah, it can't be easy to get all that serious with Jack Black in the room, yet that didn't stop Peter Jackson from working on an extra dramatic "King Kong" while this film was on the tongues of everyone... who actually saw it. This film may have earned more money than "Before Sunset"-I mean, "Before Sunrise", but, as much as I joke about folks' bad assumptions when they hear the premise to this film, people rambling on for well over an hour doesn't exactly make for solid commerical entertainment, and for a couple reasons. As endearing as the leads were in the predecessor, and still are here, they had obnoxious occasions that can also be found in this follow-up, whose pseudo-intellectual babblings get to be a little questionable, and whose intentionally nervous moments to the interactions are even more prominent than those in the predecessor, being far from a big problem, but sometimes problematic, particularly when the ramblings get unevenly focused. The intentionally under conversations that sometimes break from discussions' tops for comic relief or whatever are more realistic, but they remain distancing from a storytelling standpoint, so the final product could have done without certain fluffy touches that annoy and loosen the assurance that the predecessor didn't lose as often. Really, the film could do without plenty of touches to its plot structure, or rather, dialogue structure, which drives this film's unconventional narrative style, and can therefore not be tightened up too much, even when you take out of account the fact that the final product runs a startlingly brief 80 minutes, but still gets fatty around the edges with more than just the aforementioned inconsequentially fluffy breaks from primary discussion focus, trying to run out the clock with a touch too much exposition, until it slips into aimlessness. Well, aimlessness is all but unavoidable in a film that simply meditates upon an extended dialogue exchange in real time, and, again, I understand that something had to be done in order meet the tight runtime demands of distributors who decided whether or not this 80-minute pseudo-fluff piece was cinema material, but there's just no way around how unfocused this storytelling gets to be at times, if you could say that there is an actual story being told so aimlessly. Where the first film was about the budding of a new relationship, this sequel is about the rekindling and reinforcement of that relationship, so it's not like this sequel's narrative doesn't have something of a point, but there is still no, at least in the traditional sense, plot to speak of here, just walks and talks that are charmingly well-handled enough to be consistently endearing, if not kind of fun, yet nevertheless with hardly any conflict or dynamicity, and a considerable deal of dramatic limitations that make it near-impossible to make a truly rewarding drama. All things considered, this is a pretty well-done film, even more so than "Before Sunrise" in some places, but by this second affair, a little bit of what spark there was settled, and considering that this film's script is not quite as tight as that of "Before Sunrise", even with the final product's being considerably shorter, what you ultimately end up with is a somewhat inferior sequel to an already unavoidably underwhelming film that ran the risk of collapse into mediocrity. In the hands of a lesser filmmaking team, this could have been the film that fell flat as downright mediocre, if it was lucky, but we're dealing with most of, well, the guys who did "Before Sunrise" here, and while they can do only so much to pump meat into the telling of a thin story, they engage, even visually. Now, don't get me wrong, this film's predecessor was shot reasonably well by Lee Daniel, but I don't find it as well-shot as plenty have been saying, as lighting and framing were simply serviceable enough to provide an adequate feel for the Vienna, Austria, environment that played a big part in driving the "strangers in a strange land" premise behind "Before Sunrise", as well as this film, whose visual style is decidedly delivered on even more sharply Daniel, whose more warmly intense emphasis on lighting captures a sense of wonderment to the romantic drama's tone, as well as to the setting. Even without Daniel's handsome lensing job, this film's setting of Paris, France, is lovely on its own, and although the leads don't cover quite as much ground as they did when they trekked through Vienna, you still get a rich feel for the atmosphere of Paris as the leads take you on an in-depth tour through the landscape. While it's conclusive that this film is shot better than its predecessor, it's debatable whether or not Paris is explored as extensively as Vienna was, even if some of the set pieces of Vienna ran together more than the set pieces in this film do, but there's no denying that this film is a stunner of a visually stylish and immersively tasteful portrait on European culture, as surely as it is a meditation upon simple chit-chat whose engagement value can truly make or break the final product as decent. While Richard Linklater returns to the writing room, "Before Sunrise" co-writer Kim Krizan leaves her side of the scripting duties in the hands of lead performers Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who stand as worthy replacements, collaborating with Linklater on a script that is still a little draggy, - even in the context of an intentionally aimless story concept - with more jarring fluffy occasions, as well as some tropes to whatever plotting there is, but is still relatively solid, with colorful and grounded dialogue that offers intriguing subject matter, in addition to thoughtful expository depth. As short as this film is, its script stands to be tighter, yet it's still generally relatively tight in its pacing, which Linklater further smoothens with reasonably well-paced direction, until the final product finds itself successfully sustaining, not just intrigue, but entertainment value, sometimes highlights by a heartwarming attention to human depths that are, of course, really sold by the leads. Even though this film is even more about its leads, with hardly any attention to a supporting cast that would occasionally rear its head into things in "Before Sunrise", acting material is even more limited than it was in the predecessor, - whose dramatic bite only really kicked in when the central one-off romance started to face threats that aren't nearly as prominent in this film about the rebuilding of a lost relationship, rather than the building and eventual dismantling of a new one - so it's not like Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are all that outstanding, but by no means have they gotten rusty in these roles after nine years, bonding with the Jesse and Céline roles with natural charisma that sells the characters as likable, if a smidge obnoxious, while dynamite chemistry sells the layers of Jesse's and Céline's relationship that drive the progression of this "plot". Again, even though this effort is about a relationship getting re-sparked, possibly as more passionate than ever, there's just not as much spark to the film itself as there was in "Before Sunrise", although that's not to say that there isn't plenty of inspiration to this project, which ultimately endears enough to be decent, regardless of the shortcomings. In conclusion, obnoxious occasions in writing are perhaps at their worst when fluffy dialogue pieces plague focus with unevenness, while aimless draggy spells to writing make it even harder to ignore the natural limitations to this thin story concept that make the final product underwhelming, even more so than its predecessor, yet there is still enough beauty to the cinematography and scenery, entertainment value to the thoughtful dialogue and direction, and electric charisma to and chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy to make "Before Sunset" an endearing continuation of a genuine love story, if you can get past the limitations. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2013
    Essentially the film is a continuation of the conversations from the previous film, only with more depth and maturity. The final seconds never fail to bring me to tears.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 07, 2013
    Following the masterpiece that the first film was, "Before Sunset" picks up 9 years later after he has written a book based on the night they spent together in the first. Again, this film is driven by the performances and the screenplay which is 100% dialogue driven. Watching these two converse for the length of a feature film is more than satisfying, but that is due to the fact that the director writes the dialogue with the actors who will be portraying these wonderfully developed characters. I fell in love with the first movie the first time I watched it, but I just cannot say the same about this film. It was just as enjoyable, but a lot has changed since their last meet and a few things they do just feels wrong. Again, the long takes and beautiful establishing shots are war sell this film. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy give terrific performances and you truly do feel the connection between them. In the end, this film is great for what it is, but it just is no match for the brilliance the first one pulled off.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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