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Before Sunset
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Before Sunset More at IMDbPro »

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477 out of 526 people found the following review useful:

The only problem...

10/10
Author: ivko from USA
13 December 2004

...is that it ends. This is a fantastic film. It joins the handful of movies where I think I liked the sequel even more than the original, although I liked 'Before Sunrise' as well. Where Sunrise captured the immediacy and urgency of perfect youthful love, Sunset reflects beautifully on the aftermath of that perfection. I remember a line that says "nothing that is complete breathes", and I think that is what we see in this film. A perfect connection with another human is a blessing and a curse; having experienced perfection a part of us stops breathing, unable or unwilling to mar the perfection of that memory.

The dialogue is amazing, the acting is spot-on; this is a great film. In some ways it felt more like reading a great novel than watching a movie, in that I really felt like I knew the characters and was sad the movie had to end. Kind of like saying goodbye to an old friend. If you are an action movie kind of person, skip this flick because it will bore you to tears. If, on the other hand, you like good dialogue, well formed characters, and aren't quite jaded enough to have given up completely on the idea of true love, don't miss this film.

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320 out of 344 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely fantastic. Easily the best film of the year.

10/10
Author: FilmBuff77
19 November 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are four scenes that I will treasure forever:

1) The ferry ride, and the subtle ways you can tell they're both heartbroken, lonely, frustrated and angry. The way she discusses the "little details" that compose a person, and what she missed most in him. "Like I remember the way your beard has a bit of red it in, and how the sun was making it glow that...that morning right before you left."

2) The scene in the van, where they finally unburden themselves. One of the most emotionally raw and honest interplays I've seen on celluloid. The way she reaches out to touch him, but holds back at the last second. Much different in tone from the way Hawke reached out to brush her hair aside in the first film.

3) Celine's song. So simple yet so endearing. The way her voice fades to a whisper as she sings, "My heart will be yours until I die."

4) The ending, which is in all ways **PERFECT**. The slow fade, the utter charm of her Nina Simone impression, the ambiguity, and the wonderful look in his eyes as his youth, hope and happiness come rushing back to him while watching Celine dancing and singing (foreshadowed in the opening scene). This is, perhaps, one of the ten best endings in the cinema.

Hawke and Delpy are sublime, of course. This film requires incredibly subtle acting, and these are Oscar worthy performances that will not be recognized because they are not showy. Much of this film, like life, is acted with the eyes. Witness how Hawke stares at Delpy as she discusses her failed relationships on the ferry, or the sadness and longing in Delpy's eyes as she sings her love song.

As in the first film, the chemistry between them is indelible. My candidate for best on-screen couple ever.

This film is better than the first, because it provides a more unique perspective. In Sunset, we see the sobering effects of age and disappointment etched in their faces and clouding their lives. There is more at stake here, for they are nine years older, have made their share of mistakes, feel imprisoned by responsibilities, and must confront their shortcomings and problems. It's comforting to believe that hope and love will prevail in their case.

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278 out of 310 people found the following review useful:

So Little Time, So Much Love.

10/10
Author: its_a_mee_mario from BC, Canada
11 December 2004

Before Sunset is one of those movies, you either love, or you hate.

Personally, I loved it.

Now, I recommend watching "Before Sunrise" first, however it isn't necessary. Before Sunset does a good job of reviewing what had happened, therefore if you decide to watch it Before watching "Sunrise" you have nothing to worry about.

Some scenes are extremely well done. The characters are picture perfect, and the movie itself, is breathtaking. The aura of the movie is so spectacular, that it will inspire young directors out there, to pick up their video cameras are start filming.

An 80 minute movie, about two lovable characters and what they have to say, may sound boring. But the way it's done in Before Sunset, will sweep this impression right off your feet.

Julie and Ethan play two of the most honest and true characters I have ever seen, they are known as Jesse and Celine. And while much of the credit must go to the characters themselves, you musn't forget the actor and actress who played them.

Julie is perfect as Celine. The young french actress is so natural in front of the camera. Definitely, has potential.

Ethan is also very very honest, he seems so comfortable character that that you forget your watching a movie, and not a home-made video.

Both play with such honest expression, and such trueness, that they are so natural, Before Sunset becomes no longer a movie. It feels as if you are eavesdropping on two extremely developed people. It's such an intimate environment, that you never want to leave.

Before Sunset... 9.901/10*****

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272 out of 311 people found the following review useful:

I'm designed to feel slightly dissatisfied!

10/10
Author: Andy (film-critic) from Bookseller of the Blue Ridge
20 November 2004

I will be the first to announce that I was not a huge fan of the original film. While I thought that it was interesting to see as well as an untapped concept in Hollywood, I felt that the characters were too forced coupled with a very amateurish and repetitive moments. It was an average film that seemed to be lacking bits of the human element. It needed something more. At the time I couldn't put my finger on it, but after seeing Before Sunset, I could see what it was. Maturity. This may sound strange, but I felt that Jesse and Celine were too perfect in the first film. They lacked connectiveness to the average person. I couldn't see myself in this situation. Perhaps if I would have seen the original film in 1995 instead of a couple of years ago, it would have been closer, but I just couldn't capture the moment. In Before Sunset, I feel head over feet for both Jesse and Celine.

They seemed to have grown and experienced a life that was all their own. They seemed more passionate, more powerful, and especially more human. From their first meeting in the bookstore until the finale in Celine's apartment, I was fully immersed in their conversation. I wanted to know everything I could about both of them, and I did. I loved hearing about Celine's passion for the environment, and Jesse's distraught marriage. It brought these two characters out of the screen and into our lives. Whether it was a scripted story or if Hawke and Delpy were playing off each other, it worked. I witnessed in this film two people who were made for each other. It was more obvious in this film than in the prior outing.

What made this film work on such a higher level than the first were the actors. They have grown and emerged as two important commodities in the Hollywood community. This is probably Hawke's greatest performance in years. His relaxed actions made us feel relaxed around him, yet quietly pushing for him to be closer to Celine. His pushy sexual advances seemed less forced and instead more like honest love. He looked and felt like a man that has been dreaming of this encounter all his life, and it finally happened. You could see the excitement in his eyes to see Delpy again. It was more than just acting, he put so much heart into this performance that it was clearly displayed for all to see. The same goes for Delpy. At the beginning of this film, I didn't like her character. She seemed rough and rigid around the edges, constantly giving off that feeling that she was harboring a secret that she didn't want Hawke to know. As her character grew in this film, I understood why. She had a different life after the encounter than Hawke did. While he still longed for Celine in his heart, he did move on. She longed for Jesse in her heart, and to this day could not find anyone to replace his purity. I loved Celine much more in the sequel because she kept us guessing. Did she remember their night together? Did she really loose her grandmother, or did she just not show up that day in Vienna? Was the song just for Jesse? So many questions left me wanting more and more and more.

Finally, I would like to say that Linklater is growing with his films, and this was a crowning achievement for him. He powerfully and delicately built a sequel that was for superior than the original. He continued with a similar format as the first, but gave us stronger characters and another beautiful city. The language in this film is intense. Listen to the words that come from Ethan and Julie, they embody so much of our culture and our lives. There were moments when I felt they were speaking thoughts directly from my mind. Everything in this film was connected and worked to the fullest extent of cinematic possibility.

Overall, this was a brilliant film. Linklater captured the essence of these two heart-struck people and proved that it could be filmed. This is one of the ultimate love stories that will remain on your minds far after the film is over. The intimate final lines will continually reverberate as the best ever in a movie. This was a huge step up from the original, and is one of the best films of the year. If you were not a fan of the Before Sunset, I suggest that you check this out. It is a mature film that explores the power of love in a way that no other Hollywood film could. I would not be surprised if we saw the title of this film in the Oscar celebration this year. Check out this film to hear social commentary of our lives, fall in love, and especially to see the beauty of Paris.

Grade: ***** out of *****

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181 out of 200 people found the following review useful:

How do you make a sequel to "Before Sunrise"? This is how.

10/10
Author: Rashtabullah
29 October 2004

I'd been longing to see this one as I'd always thought 'Before Sunrise' was one of the most honest, most real films I'd ever seen, but at the same time I held off seeing the sequel from fear of disappointment. For all of you in the same position, fear not ; Linklater, Hawke and Delphy (for it has surely been a joint effort and labour of love for all three) have done us and themselves proud. I've just seen the film and despite being male and 38 I feel like Roberta Flack must have felt when she penned 'Killing me Softly' after hearing Don McLean sing 'Vincent' in concert; this is - once again - just so close to what it's all about. You want technicalities? The acting, superb; Hawke and Delphy slip right back into their characters, their mannerisms, their sometimes gauche repartee, the way they seem to fence around each other, seeming to go in for the kill then feigning, drawing back…Exquisite. And then the details, the echoes of the first film in the settings but now with a world-weariness, an autumnal note and yet with still that fundamental freshness and optimism that revives the memories of Sunrise's youthfulness and reminds us, as our heroes discuss, that though time changes people, there remains an unchanging core. Just see it; this is about as good as it gets, folks.

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146 out of 163 people found the following review useful:

Linklater, Delpy & Hawke make an impossible sequel work (including minor SPOILERS)

8/10
Author: Superunknovvn from Austria, Vienna
19 June 2004

"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 work.

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125 out of 137 people found the following review useful:

Wow! Satisfying at so many levels

10/10
Author: Bob Pr. from Lawrence, KS
14 August 2004

I had not seen the prequel to this although my date had and she filled me in on many details. While the experience of this film would be enriched by having seen the preceding film first, it certainly stands satisfactorily alone.

In many ways, this reminded me very much of one of my most favorite movies of all time, "My Dinner with André," in which just 2 characters talking comprised the whole movie. In that movie, the friends had been close, drifted apart, and then had a brief reunion at a dinner at which they caught up with what the other had been doing. The two principals, André Gregory and Wallace Shawn, played themselves and each represented one side of a dialectic, say the side of romanticism vs. a conventional reality. "Before Sunset" is parallel in many ways.

At one level we have a romantic story -- two people who'd briefly been lovers nine years before and lost touch meet again. They spend an afternoon together. Will they try to fulfill what they'd started?

At another level, we have the charm of conversation and exploration, of reminiscing, of gradually feeling out and discovery of how much do I have in common with this person now? -- where has this person been? -- what are they capable of now? -- how much freedom of choice do I have, does this other person have -- to make decisions? Etc.

While Celine and Jesse have a capacity for relating and talking, they also have somewhat opposite ways of viewing the world and relationships -- Celine is more cynical and reserved; Jesse is more open to settling for the "not-perfect-but-good-enough."

There are possibly a few people who have not had the personal experiences that at least somewhat relate to the premise in this film -- a relationship in which one wonders, "what would have happened if I'd pursued that relation?" but probably most people have. And the other dilemma, of meeting again that someone but by now being involved in relationships of responsibility -- my family, my children, my present life. What would it do to them if I were to pursue my own happiness at the expense of them? Can I do that? Can I value the chance of my own happiness above theirs? Etc.

The film, fortunately, gives us no answers to these essential questions but it does pose them in a way that makes us consider them.

Delpy and Hawke are given screenwriter credits and I feel sure that they must've contributed a great deal to the feeling of seamless, natural dialogue.

GREAT movie. No movie satisfies everyone, of course, but at the time I wrote this, slightly over 50% of the voters gave it a 10/10. For those of us in that group, it's a great film.

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127 out of 162 people found the following review useful:

Just great

10/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
16 July 2004

A sequel to the 1995 film "Before Sunrise". Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet 9 years after their initial meeting. They've changed--originally they were in their 20s and full of idealism. Now they're in their 30s--and their lives have changed in ways they didn't predict. Like the first movie they walk around Paris this time and talk about love, life, reality, what might have been--and it's all fascinating. Like the first film this is basically a character study and (like the first) just incredible. It's like catching up with old friends after 9 years apart! They've aged a lot--Hawke looks TERRIBLE but Delpy looks OK--and life has thrown both a few hard knocks but hearing how they survived and what they went through is just incredible. This is NOT for everybody (four people walked out when I went to see it) but, for people who can deal with nonstop talk for 80 minutes it is just great. Every single line rings true and is delivered full force by Hawke and Delpy. The acting varies--Hawke is good (but he smiles WAY too much)--Delpy is just superb all the way through. This is easily one of the best films of 2004. Highly recommended.

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112 out of 138 people found the following review useful:

Pure Delight

10/10
Author: Se Cardeira (senocardeira@alentejo.zzn.com) from Dili, Timor Leste
17 February 2005

Nine years on Celine and Jessie meet in Paris not entirely by destiny or sheer force of circumstance... Nine years ago I loved Before Sunrise so much! And identified with it even though I was far from home not out of choice - and a war of the kind that bothered Celine in Bosnia was going on in my own country... But I was young. I was 24, actually, very romantic and innocent. Now I Know how things work a little better. The world, relationships. But I'm still plunging into causes for their own sake. And I'm still a reasonably normal person. Just like the characters in this film. Paris has never looked simpler in its casual elegance. Dialogue has never seemed more natural. A script never touched real life like this one so effortlessly. I'm in love with these characters - and with the ending... This is how European Cinema used to be - and Hollywood, too for that matter. Naturally real and magical in the details.

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93 out of 108 people found the following review useful:

Suave sequel: a new genre is born

Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California
30 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Before Sunset" is one of those movies that look superficial, romantic, weepy, crowd-pleasing, but really is original, smart, analytical, and challenging. It stands by itself but is richer seen in relation to "Before Sunrise," made nine years earlier, of which it is the sequel, and besides that it's richer and subtler than the original. The characters and the actors are older, more experienced and more sophisticated. It's got a documentary element, reminiscent of Michael Apted's wonderful "7 Up," "14 Up," series. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, who also stared in "Before Sunrise," don't have to pretend to be nine years older in this sequel; they are. They're only thirty-three now, but Hawke has the ravaged gauntness his breakup with Uma Thurman seems to have imposed on him. Delpy is more mature, less angelic, more businesslike, but still beautiful.

"Before Sunset" is a leaner film than "Before Sunrise." It's real-time, and without frills. Venues or backgrounds are simpler. Jesse and Céline largely just walk and talk.

Hawke and Delpy are more accomplished actors; less self-conscious people. The talk flows more effortlessly. The continuity of the scenes is a seamless tour de fource almost as if this were all a single take like Sokorov's "Russian Ark."

There isn't flirting or a developing attraction, a growing physical intimacy, as in "Before Sunset," because Jesse and Céline spend most of the film talking about that earlier meeting and how it has haunted them and dominated their lives. Gradually it comes out (particularly during the car ride that leads to where Céline lives) that her current relationship is limited and his marriage is largely sexless, redeemed only by his adoration of his four-year-old son.

She pretends not to remember that they made love that night in Vienna nine years before. Maybe that means their sudden passion never really was consummated, because their affinity wasn't something one night's sex could fulfill.

The premise is this: Jesse has published a novel that's a bestseller in the US and he's doing a signing in Paris. (Hawke's real life identity fits here, since he's published several books.) Suddenly as he's coming to the end of his talk, Céline appears outside the window of the bookstore (which is one every American in Paris knows: Shakespeare & Company). He's supposed to go to the airport in a couple of hours, but his bags are packed and a car is ready, and he and Céline agree to go and talk. She leads him to a café called Le Pure. (This is real time, but not real space: the places where they go are far apart.) Then they take a boat ride on the Seine; finally they get in the car and wind up at Céline's apartment which turns out to be a lovely enclave where her neighbors are together outside having a party.

A movie in real time consisting mostly of conversation is impossible to summarize: it would take twenty pages. But it does emerge that both still think about each other a lot; that meeting nine years before has remained important. The flame still burns bright. Jesse did go back to Vienna six months later in the station to meet Céline as they'd promised, but her grandmother was buried on that day and she couldn't be there. Later he says that perhaps his dream of romantic love was shattered forever by her failure to appear. They rue the fact that they didn't exchange addresses or phone numbers.

There's little touching or kissing but there doesn't have to be. It's obvious that this is a climactic reunion for both of them and the attraction is as strong as ever, probably stronger – except that there are obstacles. They're not young and free any more. They have lives, commitments, involvements. . .

What will happen? As the film ends, its obvious Jessie is quite happily going to miss his plane. But while Linklater & Company keep us guessing, the partial answer that comes is quite charming.

"Before Sunset" is a superb sequel. It's touching but surprisingly unsentimental. And it's as graceful a piece of film-making as you could ever see, with the gracefulness of art that conceals artifice. Richard Linklater is one of the most interesting younger American directors. His work is authentic and personal, but has real range, from the slacker movies through the romantic encounters of Delpy and Hawke and the tight theatrical drama "Tape" to the inspired philosophical musings and fresh use of animation of "Waking Life," and Hawke has been involved in four of Linklater's movies. Linklater and Hawke are soulmates and brothers, and Delpy is the other essential collaborator in the "Sunset"/"Sunrise" sequence, because she too is a writer and wrote her own dialogue and the chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is too obvious to mention. It's obvious also the audience would like another sequel, and so would the actors. It's only a question of when. The inventive Richard Linklater has created a new genre: the real time sequel.

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