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Overall Rating
4.51

Awesome76.67%
Worth A Look: 14.44%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 1.11%
Total Crap: 7.78%

7 reviews, 48 user ratings


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Before Sunset
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"A perfect companion piece."
5 stars

At the end of the small, enchanting 'Before Sunrise' (1995), Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who have randomly met and had one of those long, lyrical nights of talk and love, promise each other that they will meet back in Vienna in six months. The follow-up film, 'Before Sunset,' will tell you whether they did or didn't meet up, but far more important is who they became.

The Before films, as they will probably come to be called, were both directed by Richard Linklater, an amiably and gently experimental filmmaker who specializes in small moments that reveal more than most big-budget Hollywood movies do. Linklater was 34 when he made the first film, 43 when he shot the second. He was already pretty mature and smart about relationships nine years ago, but Before Sunset shows an even deeper maturation.

Jesse, it turns out, is a published novelist; his book This Time, based on his own experiences in the first film, has come out to acclaim and decent sales (probably a warmer reception than Ethan Hawke's own stabs at fiction have gotten). Concluding a reading and Q&A at a Paris bookshop, Jesse spots a familiar face across the room -- Celine, who has come to listen and who, it so happens, has read the book and approves. "I don't usually like romantic stuff," she says, "but, um ... it was well-written, though!" Almost immediately, they fall back into their old verbal rhythms from nine years ago. They enjoy each other's company, but something is eating at both of them. Nine years have taken a toll; they've lived a lot of life since they were moonstruck 22-year-olds on holiday in Vienna, and they are different people now. Their reunion brings this home rather painfully.

Celine works as a political activist, and her more relevant life (in Jesse's view) puts his comfortable novelist's life to shame. She can't keep a boyfriend; he is married with a son, and we learn, a little conveniently, that he isn't terribly fulfilled in the marriage. But the question in Before Sunset is not whether Jesse and Celine will get back together; as in the first film, Linklater is much more interested in how the two relate to life now, which areas of their soul have been toughened up and which have remained soft and vulnerable. These films are too stubbornly garrulous and too probing to settle for storybook romance. Before Sunset is like revisiting an old favorite novel in which, unbeknownst to you, a new epilogue has been added. We're more than happy to hear Jesse and Celine talking again.

The pair wander around Paris, parrying on such topics as sex, politics, and expectations of life. Anyone expecting a conventional plot, as some people at the screening I attended apparently were, will grow restless: Linklater gives you the moments that happen when other movies aren't looking. Before Sunrise, filmed when both Hawke and Delpy had a little more meat on their bones, was a delicate ode to the passions of mind and heart. Hawke and Delpy look skinnier here (particularly Hawke, who borders on gaunt), as if the indulgences of their student years had been carved away. They don't act here so much as exist within the characters they have created. The movie is smoothly filmed in "real time," following the two through talk and silence, yet never dragging.

Before Sunset is a gemlike minimalist triumph -- deeper and more provocative than its predecessor, which had the questions of youth on its mind. The new film has no answers, and suggests that questioning minds will never stop. I have to agree with the many fans of both films: These two flawlessly shaped movies are sufficient for me, but the prospect of Jesse and Celine running across each other again in 2013 is undeniably alluring (as long as the entire creative team returns).

Linklater could have an art-house franchise here comparable to Satyajit Ray's 'Apu' Trilogy or François Truffaut's Antoine Doinel series. If he's satisfied with these bookend 'Sunrise'/'Sunset' films, though, so am I.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8925&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/02/07 12:09:12
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/28/12 Quigley One of the best sequels ever made. There's nothing like the lovely art of conversation. 5 stars
6/11/11 Jack Lantern Brilliant and captivating. Possibly the best "romance" movie ever. 5 stars
10/01/08 Annie G The ultimate ‘they came to talk’ film, but actually quite enjoyable. 4 stars
5/12/08 Venere Thought provoking yet Romantic. They both become a lil too "jaded" at the end though. 5 stars
6/20/07 Dunedain The most amazing film in years 5 stars
6/02/07 Sam one of the films I could never forget 5 stars
5/21/07 Qaisar Janjua It makes you think and it is a great thing for a film. 5 stars
4/19/07 fools♫gold People don't change. 5 stars
3/17/07 Double M Fantastic sequel. realistic characters. Not for CGI-obsessed kids. 5 stars
11/26/06 Indrid Cold Amazingly, it's a completely satisfying continuation of the original. Kudos to Linklater. 5 stars
8/23/05 john williams One of the most interesting movies i've ever seen. conversations were done so real. 5 stars
8/13/05 Lily The rare sequel that is better than the first. Lovely ending. 4 stars
7/25/05 KAREN DE JESUS IT IS SO FANTASTIC..... I LOV\E EVERY WORD OF IT.... WITH JUST SIMPLE CONVERSATION..... 5 stars
5/16/05 JFK good movie, script and acting 4 stars
2/06/05 joanna saw it a month ago & still cant stop thinking about it 5 stars
1/23/05 Darryl Almost as good as "Sunrise," my only complaint being that it ended too soon! 5 stars
12/27/04 Steve I can't do this movie justice in one line...heck, in ten pages. 5 stars
12/13/04 ken purchase achingly beautiful 5 stars
12/07/04 Lily Talking never got better in a movie! 5 stars
12/06/04 Natasha Theobald I love the idea, I love the execution -- intimate and evocative 5 stars
12/05/04 Sid Savillo/Novelist/Scriptwriter That One Night Stand They Had was More Precious than Anything! 5 stars
12/04/04 nichole the movie is a total crap, it's a waste of money 1 stars
11/23/04 Ed Wood, Jr. So pretentious, cloying and self-satisfied I longed for the damn thing to be over. 2 stars
11/16/04 Dave Has a natural flow. If you've loved deeply once and disconnected it will have a certain ap 5 stars
11/14/04 tom This is romance, "new" love between the ears and over the years. Enchanting! 5 stars
11/02/04 alice a beautiful film, intelligent , for intelligent people, marvellues acting!!! 5 stars
10/05/04 julie brilliant 5 stars
10/01/04 Wendy I groaned out loud several times. 1 stars
9/10/04 Noah I loved it as much as "Before Sunrise" 5 stars
8/31/04 Steve Casper Great romance! 5 stars
8/25/04 martin unpleasant characters - cliched 1 stars
8/23/04 tina LOVED it. Can not put into words how much their story affected me 5 stars
8/06/04 Henry Soto Nice. 4 stars
8/02/04 FAnderson The couple's "true love" was not believable. 1 stars
7/29/04 Chopper3 Loved it 5 stars
7/24/04 Marce OMG! This is simply -the- benchmark on, smart, funny, touching and beautiful movie romance! 5 stars
7/21/04 Valerie Spentzos A pleasant change from Hollywood garbage, with sensitive acting and intelligent dialogue. 4 stars
7/20/04 Elizabeth Beautifully done! Brought a smile to my face and broke my heart at the same time. 5 stars
7/19/04 RMS This film was BOOOOOOOOOOORING! 1 stars
7/18/04 Cassandra Farrar good entertainment 4 stars
7/17/04 Christine was not disappointed 4 stars
7/09/04 Todd Fike Exceeds expectations 5 stars
7/09/04 JulieD It´s a really dumb movie. I loved the 1st one, though 1 stars
7/01/04 Darren Superb. The perfect follow up to a cinematic gem. 5 stars
6/30/04 Lori Not a chick flick! We BOTH loved it. He even said, "Let's rent the original." WOW 5 stars
6/30/04 Jan R Useless waste of my time, slow, dull, lifeless, amature film 1 stars
6/29/04 Kai Kirner Brilliant, intelligent, touching and wise... 5 stars
6/07/04 Trent Mitchell Great movie. I had a smile on my face the whole time. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jul-2004 (R)
  DVD: 09-Nov-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  19-Aug-2004 (M)


Directed by
  Richard Linklater

Written by
  Richard Linklater
  Ethan Hawke
  Julie Delpy

Cast
  Ethan Hawke
  Julie Delpy



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