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
Linklater, Delpy & Hawke make an impossible sequel work (including minor SPOILERS)
"Before Sunrise" was one of the most beautiful independent love stories
of the 90's. Part of its appeal came from the open ending. We didn't
know how the lives of these two young people would continue and what
would become of them. The whole movie was like a snapshot that left the
rest to our imagination. A sequel to such a story seemed to be
unnecessary, but apparently director Richard Linklater himself couldn't
stop thinking about these two intriguing characters and had to envision
their lives after this one fateful day in Vienna.
Here it is now, the most unlikely sequel I have ever seen, "Before
Sunset" - made not for money but for pure artistic purpose only. Much
of the magic of part one could have been destroyed, but somehow
Linklater and his two main actors managed to pull it off. "Before
Sunset" takes place nine years after Jesse and Celine first met and as
soon as the movie starts you feel like you meet old friends you haven't
seen in a long time. You know these people and immediately feel at home
with them. I was afraid that "Before Sunset" might give answers to
questions that shouldn't be answered in the first place. If "Before
Sunrise" was a dream that two young people had, then this movie could
only be the rude awakening, the confrontation with reality. And somehow
it is just that. It's a bit disillusioning to hear that all did not
turn out as well as one might have imagined. We learn that Jesse and
Celine are not particularly happy in their lives and that they are not
really the romantic persons they used to be nine years ago. The
soothing thing to see, however, is that they are still here. They both
have passed their 30th birthday, they have jobs and their future is
more or less decided, but they're still longing for passion in their
lives and as soon as they meet each other, it's there again. They might
have given up a lot of their dreams and beliefs but one thing remains
true: their feelings for each other. While they're talking it's like
they turn back time and become the young, hopeful people they once were
again. I'm getting a bit carried away, but that's the beauty of these
two movies, "Sunrise" and "Sunset". The story sucks you in and you're
not able to stop thinking about it for a long while.
Another thing "Before Sunset" did, it made me reflect on my own life.
How have I changed in the past nine years? What has become of my
dreams? Obviously, I have gotten more cynical, because at times I was
irritated by Celine's talk about environmental problems and her
emotional outbursts. It took me way longer than last time to "bond"
with her character this time around.
Anyway, the performances by Hawke and Delpy are wonderful once again.
Their acting is as natural as can be, and thinking of Hawke's recent
divorce in real life you wonder how much of his character in the movie
is based on his own personal experiences.
Unfortunately, the movie is over way too soon. After about an hour you
have already arrived at the final scene - a scene that is just amazing.
It makes you hope that somehow everything will work out for Jesse and
Celine and that maybe they will stay together this time. As part one,
"Before Sunset" doesn't have a definite ending, though.
It's sure nice to see that apparently Linklater cares about Jesse and
Celine as much as I do and made such a good sequel. He could probably
even make a third part. "Before Sunset" has convinced me that it could
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