WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Nine years after the romantic drama BEFORE SUNRISE hit cinemas, director Richard Linklater revisits the characters from that movie, this time on the streets of Paris rather than those of Vienna. The entire film takes place in the span of one afternoon as Jesse and Celine walk through the city and talk about their lives, their loves and everything in between as they discover that the special connection they felt on that one extraordinary night they spent together nine years prior, is stronger than ever. But with Jesse having a plane to catch back to the U.S. in a few hours, they both start getting that nauseous feeling in the pits of their stomachs again and begin to wonder – will it all slip away… again?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’m a big fan of the romance genre, especially those that don’t end in the usual happy Hollywood ending (BRIEF ENCOUNTER, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE). Which is why I was a little skeptical and disappointed when I heard Richard Linklater would have fate reunite the two lovelorn characters from his incredibly romantic and bittersweet film BEFORE SUNRISE (1995). But then I thought: “You know what, serendipitous meetings, occurrences and coincidences happen every day in the world and it would be pretty close-minded of me not to accept this would happen as well.” That’s about all it took for me to convince myself to go see the continuation of this relationship the weekend it hit theaters. Truth be told, I would have gone anyway as the curiosity of what happened upon their reunion would eventually drive me insane. Much like BEFORE SUNRISE, the movie follows the two leads as they discuss topics ranging from sex, politics and spirituality to the elusive subject of love. Hawke and Delpy give such believable performances that you’re swept along immediately with them and give them your full attention in this completely dialogue-driven afternoon of theirs.
Linklater, Hawke and Delpy’s screenplay has made the characters mature quite realistically and yet their youthful, hopeful selves from nine years ago shines through every now and again in those special, private, almost undetectable moments between the two characters. Usually it’s just a simple look and change of expression that gives it away, and it’s those moments that make the magic of what made the first movie so genuine and romantic come alive in this film. The scene in which Delpy and Hawke are walking silently up to her apartment is especially telling; and when Celine sings and plays a song for Jesse once they get up there, well, I’ll go back to the word I used before – it’s magic! The way the movie ends is very much like the dialogue, the sights of Paris we see throughout the film and the whole idea of bringing these two characters together again on screen – beautiful, perfectly-chosen and inspired.
On the Set of Before Sunset (9 minutes): A short but satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, with the trio of Delpy, Hawke and Linklater discussing how it feels to revisit these characters again. It’s emphasized, many times, how much of a group effort BEFORE SUNSET is, with all three of them working on the characters, the dialogue, etc. at all times.
If you’re among those who love dialogue-driven films and romances both bitter and sweet than BEFORE SUNSET belongs in your DVD collection. For those of you not sure if it’s worth it, go out and rent both BEFORE SUNRISE and this and see the level of screen chemistry one can achieve on film with an intelligent, thoughtful script, solid directing and a perfectly cast twosome.