Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: "Before Sunset" is an All-Time Great Romance

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 234 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Before Sunset (2004)
Running time: 80 minutes (1 hour, 20 minutes)
MPAA – R for language and sexual references
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
WRITERS: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Linklater; from a story by Kim Krizan and Richard Linklater (based upon characters by Kim Krizan and Richard Linklater)
PRODUCERS: Anne Walker-McBay and Richard Linklater
EDITOR: Sandra Adair
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

The subject of this movie review is Before Sunset, a 2004 romantic drama from director Richard Linklater. It is the sequel to the 1995 film, Before Sunrise. Set nine years after the first film, Before Sunset follows the young American man and young French woman who first met on a train and spent a night in Vienna as they reunite in Paris.

It’s been nine years since Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) first met in Vienna. Back then they promised to meet again in six months, but it didn’t happen. Now, Jessie is on the European leg of his book tour. He’s in Paris for a book signing session at a small (and intimate) book store when he spies Celine off to the side… and they pick up where they left off nine years ago.

It must seem nearly impossible that Before Sunset, Richard Linklater’s sequel to his romance classic, Before Sunrise, surpasses the original. Just as in the first film, the lead characters talk and talk and talk, but this time there is the baggage of nine years of disappointments between their meetings. Whereas, in Sunrise, the talk was existential and about hope and promise, this time every topic leads back to two questions for the characters: What if we had both kept our promise to meet again in Vienna?” and the unspoken question, “Are we supposed to be together.”

Sometimes, when we meet old and dear friends whom we haven’t seen for a long time, we find that we pick up with the relationship right where we left off. Linklater, Hawke, and Ms. Delpy take that phenomenon and turn it into art, art that lives and breathes. Before Sunset is a great romantic film and a great film period – a love idyll about ideal romance. Would that more films be about love rather than hate and make us invest ourselves in the outcome of romantic love. Plus, look out for that knock out surprise ending.

9 of 10

2005 Academy Awards, USA: 1 nomination: “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Richard Linklater-screenplay/story, Julie Delpy-screenplay, Ethan Hawke-screenplay, and Kim Krizan-story)

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