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


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