RogerBW's Blog

Before Sunset 09 March 2023

2004 romantic drama, dir. Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy; IMDb / allmovie. Nine years later, Jesse and Celine meet again.

This film had a somewhat troubled genesis, with the original plan being for something on a much grander scale, but that version didn't get financed. Instead we get something that feels in many respects like a middle volume: the rendezvous planned at the end of the first film wasn't made, Jesse has become a successful author on the basis of the book he wrote about his one-night romance, and now that he's in Paris Celine reconnects with him.

This film passes in something much closer to real time than the first: we start with Jesse having only a few hours before his flight, and end just as he chooses to miss that flight. In that respect I find it works well, perhaps because it's showing mostly the side notes, the little unimportant moments, rather than the significant times.

Both of them are in relationships now, and while Jesse talks about his failing marriage, I felt that Celine's rather happier ongoing affair with a photographer was skated over. (This was also the point at which I had the unfortunate realisation that if Jesse really just wanted to get laid with the least possible effort, as Celine is clearly concerned that he might, there's very little he'd do differently, even though that's clearly not the way we're supposed to see him.)

There's even less of a conclusion than there was to Before Sunrise, and while the film does work well, I'm glad the series didn't end here.

Once more if you want more of my witterings you should listen to Ribbon of Memes.

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Tags: film reviews

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