Movie Review: Before Sunset (2004)

Title: Before Sunset
Release Date: July 2, 2004
Director: Richard Linklater
Production Company: Castle Rock Entertainment

Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) reunite after nine years, this time traveling around Paris as they converse.  Jesse has published a novel based on their night together in Vienna and gives a book talk at Shakespeare & Co. bookstore which Céline.  They then spend the hour before Jesse has to leave for the airport for his flight home having another of their profound conversations (kind of jealous that I’ve never had a conversation like this in my life).  They talk about why they didn’t reunite as planned in Vienna, their regrets about not doing so, how their lives (and their dreams and philosophies) have changed in the intervening years, and their unsatisfying marriages.  Over time the become less guarded and reveal more of their deepest feelings.

Any doubts I had that this movie would ruin the ambiguous ending of Before Sunset were erased by the easy chemistry between Delpy and Hawke and the amazing dialogue.  It certainly helps that Delpy and Hawke contributed to writing the script and that they made the dialogue sound natural over long takes filmed on location. The movie is technically brilliant since it is essentially set in real time and documents one long conversation.  The ending caught me off guard because I was wondering how they were possibly going to wrap it up with so little time left, but instead ends on a wonderfully ambiguous cliffhanger

Rating: ****