Nine years after their chance encounter, Jesse and Celine run into
each other again in Paris, only to learn the spark is still there.
Before Sunset (2004)
Directed by Richard Linklater
Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy
Sequel to 1995's Before Sunrise
Oscar Nominations - Best Adapted Screenplay
Two down, one to go. And I think it's a safe bet to say that this one is my favorite of the trilogy. There's something so tantalizing, so mesmerizing about the idea of reconnecting with a lost love. The one that got away. What would you say? What would she say? How did you leave things? Is the spark still there? It's a chance very few of us ever get to have, and Linklater sums it up perfectly with this film. Once again, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are fantastic together. I believe the chemistry, especially now that they're both nine years older and have an entire life wedged between the day they met and the day they have.
As I said, it's been nine years since that evening in Vienna, and while both Jesse and Celine can lie to themselves, it's obvious that they never moved one and have been missing each other ever since. Jesse is now a published author on a book tour, having turned his night with Celine into a bestselling novel. Celine finds him in Paris thanks to the book, which dredged up a lot of feelings she thought she'd moved beyond. Now, they have only a few hours before Jesse's plane home, and they have to make the most of it. Once again, it's the writing that's the true star, and since both actors wrote this installment along with Linklater, the believable evolution of their characters is right there.
Before Sunset beautifully captures the second stage of a realistic lifelong love story. It gives me great hope for the third film, which I hope to watch very soon. This film's ending definitely points in the direction of Jesse and Celine choosing one another over all the bad shit in their lives. So few filmmakers can accomplish a believable love story with just one movie. Richard Linklater gave us an entire life's worth with three movies.