“Must-See” Movie Review: Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset (2004)

Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

Nine years ago, Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) spent one romantic evening together in Vienna.  They left without giving each other contact information and agreed to meet in six months.  In the time since, Jesse has written a novel aboutthat night which found its way to the Best Seller list.  He is wrapping up his book tour with one final stop in Paris.  To Jesse’s surprise, Celine shows up near the end and they leave together in the hopes of catching up before Jesse’s flight out of France.  Against the backdrop of Paris, Jesse and Celine reconnect.  It is revealed that Celine did not show up for their six month reunion because her grandmother died just before the scheduled date.  Jesse, however, did.  The missed connection had a major impact on both parties.  Jesse admits that despite marrying, he doesn’t know if he believes in romantic love anymore, admitting that he is only staying with his wife out of love for their son.  He goes onto to reveal that, to some degree, he wrote the book with the distant hope of finding Celine again.  Reading Jesse’s book reminded Celine of what might have been.  Their feelings resurface throughout the day as the conversation grows more intimate and as Jesse gets closer to missing his flight home.

I’m going way against the film critics on this one.  Of the 159 reviews collected by review
aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 95% were positive. That percentage is unfathomably high to me.   This is in all likelihood, the least cinematic film I’ve ever seen.  It is essentially two actors talking on a walk, then at a coffee shop, then in a park, on a boat, etc.  In that case, you’d expect the dialogue and emotion to be legendary.  Neither are.  The characters essentially talk about their lives since last meeting and their world views, goals, etc.  To me, Before Sunset would work better as a single vignette in a multi-story film.

My Rating – 0 Ticket Stubs (Out of 5)

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 95% (159 Reviews)

Total 501 Movies Seen – 163

Romance – 17/50

@D_C_Evans

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About DC Evans

I’m a long time film lover. For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent my free time going to multiplexs; renting tapes and building my own DVD/Blu-ray collection. I'll be blogging about my efforts as I watch my way through the history of film. For starters, I’ll be focusing on watching each movie in the book “501 Must-See Movies.” Follow me on twitter: @D_C_Evans
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