Before Sunset (US, 2004)

Love at second sight

This sequel to 1995’s Before Sunrise throws the protagonists back together for the first time since their liaison in Vienna 10 year’s before. What happens after a romantic ‘one night stand’ which was truly romantic? The answer to the question plays out over this film’s 70-odd minutes with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, both credited with Richard Linklater as scriptwriters, entrancing with their answer. Rarely can a movie have so much talking and so little action. Much of it is shot in long steadicam takes, usually in front – sometimes behind – the protagonists, and Paris is merely a set of streets – albeit quintessentially romantic streets – for our characters to play out time. And rarely can a movie be so riveting with its talk a testament to the leads’ performances. Hawke, in particular, allows his face to register what he’s thinking, whilst Delpy talks and talks as they try and exorcise the last 10 years.

There may not be much room for a sequel; what happens in their 40s? But I hope they can come up with something. It was one of the best movies of the decade; just outside my top ten.

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One Response

  1. […] is likely to be a brief post as anyone who’s enjoyed the first two films (Before Sunset here) about Celine and Jesse will have to see this one. An extremely episodic narrative, […]

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