Sunday, April 24, 2016

Movie Review: "Before Sunset" (2004)

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Movie"Before Sunset"
Director: Richard Linklater
Year: 2004
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Jesse Wallace (Ethan Hawke) has returned to Europe on a book tour for the story he has written, inspired by his one-day relationship with Céline (Julie Delpy) in Austria. His last stop is in Paris, France. There, after nine years, he is reunited with Céline. The two pick up right where they left off, and before his flight back home, they walk around Paris having conversations about how their lives have changed. The pair discuss where their lives are at, now that they are in their 30's and in committed relationships, and how things could have been different.

Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" is the sequel and continuation to his 1995 low budget romance "Before Sunrise." Nine years have passed since Jesse, played by Ethan Hawke, and Céline, played by Julie Delpy, spent their evening together in Austria. Despite their proclamation to meet again in Vienna six months after that fateful night, they haven't seen each other since. Jesse has written a book about the experience, which has become a best seller. While on an international book tour, he runs into Céline in her home town of Paris, France, the last stop on his tour. Jesse has a little bit of time before his flight home, so they decide to spend the afternoon together catching up, walking around the streets of Paris and divulging the details of their lives, hopes, dreams, and failures with one another.

Much like the first film, "Before Sunset" is about these two individuals having conversations about their lives. Again, Jesse has a flight to catch to head home back to the states, which puts them within the confines of a short time span. The main difference is now, they are nine years older. Instead of being idealistic young adults in their early 20's talking about ideas and dreams about life, love, and romance, they are pretty jaded adults in their 30's who have lives and responsibilities. They are both in relationships, and Jesse has a wife and a young child, though it would seem neither of them are happy in their current situations. They talk about what they have done over the past 9 years, the regrets they have both in and out of the context of their missed connection, as well as why they didn't meet up all those years ago.

What makes these films work is, of course, the acting and the believability that these two individuals have, could, and would be in love with one another. Delpy and Hawke have wonderful chemistry, even for people who haven't seen each other in nearly a decade. They seem to pick up right where they left off with aimless banter, philosophical and deep discussions, and even some bickering, too. The acting is good and the chemistry is still there between Hawke and Delpy. Though their relationship is more of a friendship with underlying sexual tension because of what could have been, the spark still exists between these two individuals, even after a considerable amount of time and many different life changes. The run time of this film is short, too short for such a long emotional layoff for viewers. It breezes by at only 80 minutes, and just as it feels like it's about get going and barrel head first towards a resolution, it ends rather abruptly. Oh, Linklater, you tease.

The movies in the "Before" series are clearly a labor of love for director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The dialogue is engaging and interesting, the feelings between protagonists is still there and still palpable, and the cinematography, once again, is stunningly gorgeous and methodically long lingering. This film is a slight step down from the original for us, but with such a natural, real flow, it's hardly a drop at all.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Thor"

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