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Before Sunset

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Director: Richard Linklater

This is a film that does not go without the other. Before Sunset brings back the familiarity, but with a different tone, as it continues where Before Sunset left off. Nine years after they met, Jesse and Celine reunite, this time, set in the city of Paris. Jesse was a published author, who was on a book tour, when he met Celine, on his last day in Paris. It has the same premise as the first: limited time, a single location, conversations exchanged between the two, Before Sunset brings the viewers into a new light on where Jesse and Celine are in their lives.
Besides the connection that they still have, things have changed when it comes to their views and perspectives, signifying that they have grown up from that one night in Vienna. Jesse is now married and has a son, while Celine is dating a photojournalist. By the way their conversation is going, their youth has faded away and instead of dreams, they have rooted themselves in reality.

As I've mentioned in my review of Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celine in real time, symbolized the changes we too go through as we age and gain more experiences. Jesse is in a rut. He has a family and a career, but he himself is not happy. The decisions he made were circumstantial, and he considered the what ifs of his life and where he is going. Celine had much change in her. She's emotional, she's pessimistic about love and how it is hard to find that right person to be with; she has lost trust. 

They symbolize people in a crossroad of their live, like a quarter life crisis, something like that. The moment where we throw these unrealistic dreams we have and settle for what is in front of us. It's good if you're one of the lucky few who has found something that you love, and are happy with. With the rest of the world, that's the crossroad, the reality that we all start to have doubts, regrets, second thoughts. All the romanticism has gone away and instead we get two people who has grown up with all these life experiences that lead them to think the way they are, and to be the way their are.

However, one thing is for certain: their spark was never lost. It's nice of Linklater to continue this film in real time, as opposed to shooting the sequel immediately. Shooting it in real time emphasizes the reality of it all, from the way they look down to the way they think; it's like there really was a transition in time. For this saga however, I recommend that people in their late twenties or early thirties see this. It's because I don't think they're still in the dreamer stage, but they have already started paving their way to the reality that they're going to live in. 

I like how this brings notions back to reality, a sign that people have truly grown up. It helps that Delpy and Hawke have maintained that chemistry they had on screen, with both of them keeping viewers' attention even if it's all conversation. I like how the beauty of Paris is subtle in the background. It's not those typical movies shot in Paris, where all tourist areas are flashed without meaning. We basked in the beauty of Paris as we know more about their lives. 

If you're seen the first one, I recommend to view this as well. It shows a fine contrast between the characters as they age and gain character experience. It's a good view on life as people try to settle in their reality, realizing that they do want something more out of life and all those things they've missed. Definitely a must watch if you're seeing Before Midnight, as that installment brings this trilogy to a close. 


  1. This is such a fantastic movie. I almost don't want to see Before Midnight because I fear it may ruin Before Sunset's perfect ending.


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