Before Sunset

Director Richard Linklater appears fascinated with time. ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Before Sunrise’ are about the passage of the years and how big or small moments change us. ‘Before Sunset’ was released nine years after ‘Sunrise’ in 2004. Highlighting Linklater’s time-influenced interest, ‘Before Sunset’ further explores the trials, the tribulations and the events which no one can avoid.

Nine years after their first meeting in Vienna, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet again in Paris. Their second encounter occurs during Jesse’s book tour promoting a novel inspired by their initial sojourn. Pleased to see each other, they take time out to wander the Parisian streets and catch up on life with their second meeting as potent as the first.

‘Before Sunset’ continues the successful formula of the first. It’s basically Jesse and Celine talking and walking around Paris. There’s no actual plot but that’s fine as the dialogue and chemistry between the leads is so good. As each revelation of their lives surface, it is easy being drawn in as Hawke and Delpy’s natural way of communicating underscores the film’s authenticity.

What’s not often talked about in these films are the location’s effectiveness. ‘Before Sunset’ greatly benefits from the Parisian locales. It mirrors the casual, laid-back nature of Jesse and Celine’s relationship. Each street corner opens up another topic for them to chat about, leading to further personal discoveries.

Linklater knows how to ensure his films are enriching viewing not sentimental but more of an engaging experience. ‘Before Sunset’ is another solid entry in the series with the desire to see what happens next increased as the end credits roll.

Rating out of 10: 8


Before Sunrise

Talking with someone new can be daunting. In some ways you are ‘selling yourself’ with your words and ideas. Whether the other person is receptive to them can either lead to a long or short conversation. ‘Before Sunrise’ fits into the latter with this 1995 Richard Linklater directed movie reliant on words than action. Themes of self-discovery and relationships make this an interesting romantic drama with Vienna a stunning backdrop to a developing union

Travelling on a train from Budapest, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets Celine (Julie Delpy). After striking up a conversation, they disembark in Vienna. Walking arounds its streets, Jesse and Celine talk about past regrets and future ambitions. Along the way they discover things about each other leading them on a romantic path amidst the wondrous locale.

‘Before Sunrise’ is a well written and acted film heavily reliant on its leads. Hawke and Delpy exude genuine chemistry as a duo seizing the chance at spontaneity and freedom from usual social mores. Both are kindred and carefree spirits using the anonymous nature of their surrounds to be uninhibited in what they say. This reveals more about themselves than may have happened otherwise with the growing friendship and romance feeling believable.

There’s not much of a plot to be found in ‘Before Sunrise’ but that doesn’t matter. The main characters are interesting enough to engage with along with the excellent scenery. Occasionally the pacing drags but quickly picks up as each new personal discovery offers another fascinating twist to the character’s interactions.

‘Before Sunrise’ is more of a slow-burning romantic film than the usual Hollywood dross. The humour and drama occur naturally, discarding the formula in which the genre indulges far too often. Given two sequels arrived after this shows the impact ‘Before Sunrise’ had with the solidly presented characters lingering in the memory as much as Vienna’s grand streets itself.

Rating out of 10: 8