When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
Early thirty-something American Jesse Wallace is in a Paris bookstore, the last stop on a tour to promote his best selling book, This Time. Although he is vague to reporters about the source material for the book, it is about his chance encounter nine years earlier on June 15-16, 1994 with a Parisienne named Celine, and the memorable and romantic day and evening they spent together in Vienna. At the end of their encounter at the Vienna train station, which is also how the book ends, they, not providing contact information to the other, vowed to meet each other again in exactly six months at that very spot. As the media scrum at the bookstore nears its conclusion, Jesse spots Celine in the crowd, she who only found out about the book when she earlier saw his photograph promoting this public appearance. Much like their previous encounter, Jesse and Celine, who is now an environmental activist, decide to spend time together until he is supposed to catch his flight back to New York, this ... Written by
A great movie, and a nice break from most Hollywood trash.
This is simply one of the best movies I've seen, with very few qualifications. Maybe I should say that this is one of the best "simple" movies I've seen. Perhaps it is a bit like cooking, use fresh and quality ingredients and you can make something great without a lot of unnecessary stuff. Unfortunately, Hollywood just doesn't seem to have the ambition to make these type of movies anymore.
In any event, this is one of the few sequels that matches the intensity and integrity of the original. First, it has many simple, yet stylish and honest shots. Perhaps the Scorcese shot is used too much (i.e. following the actors on a long walk without cutting a la Goodfellas kitchen scene), but I don't think so because it makes sense in the context of the movie. Second, many of the shots have interesting emotive effect. For instance, towards the end of the movie, after these "lovers" are fighting the clock (because Ethan Hawke's character needs to catch a flight) and are cruising down the river, they are so engrossed in their conversation and the fact that they are trying to get so much out of the last few minutes they don't notice their ride is coming to an end. However, we the viewer can see what the characters either don't see or don't want to see, that the boat is crossing over the river to its destination and the departure no one wants to deal with. The viewer is given a wonderful sense of dread as the bank approaches in the background, because we know what is going to happen when the ride ends, and like the characters, we don't want it to end either. Even if the film borrows heavily from other great movies (e.g. My Dinner with Andre) it is independent of those influences.
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke were great per usual. Making the dialogue ring true is difficult, but they pull it off. As before, they completely capture the nature of the intimate and friendly conversational style of friends or lovers that is normally edited out of most movies. When people talk, things are not always sequential or rationale, and unlike most movies this movie doesn't try and correct that. Not for a moment does the audience find themselves thinking that this is some sort of charade and no one would ever talk like that. The dialogue is intelligent and insightful, but that is because the characters are intelligent and have a knack for being brutally honest with their thoughts and feelings.
This is movie excellence, and I'm glad some film makers are still trying to make art. Despite the romantic themes this isn't a date flick, so be prepare to deal with the difficult and often unresolved issues of love and relationships that arise.
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