Movie Series: Before Sunset (Before Trilogy)
Director: Richard Linklater
Writers: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Synopsis: It’s nine years after Jesse and Celine first met; now, they encounter one another on the French leg of Jesse’s book tour.
Richard Linklater did something that’s rarely been done with Before Sunrise: Make a film about two people just talking and make it not only extremely interesting but extremely good. And then with Before Sunset he went a step further and made a sequel nine years later and have it be equally interesting and good. So how’d he do it? A big reason is great scripts and great performances by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The scripts are expertly written and Hawke and Delpy take that and make these characters feel like real human beings. And then when you add in the way Linklater shot both films, it’s no wonder they’re considered classics. The long takes of Jesse and Celine talking, whether it be sitting down at a cafe or walking down the street to their next location, the films feel like they were shot in real-time.
For a film that is almost 100 percent just two people communicating with one another, the script and dialogue need to be expertly written. And just like the film before it, Before Sunset has an amazing script. The dialogue is exquisite and never feels forced; sometimes it even feels as if Hawke and Delpy (both of whom helped write the script this time around) are making it up on the spot and just going with it. And, again, just like the first film, the premise seems plausible – even with the nine-year gap, the way they meet up again is never questioned. But the ending is much different, as this time around it’s a little bit more open-ended.
Just like the first film, Before Sunset is a two-person show with Hawke and Delpy receiving 100 percent of the screen time. And just like the first film, the two shine, bringing forth chemistry that feels so real and natural. They are much older and wiser this time around and have experienced many life events since their last encounter and it shows in Hawke and Delpy’s performances. Their conversations are deeper and darker and they do a great job of displaying their emotions throughout.
There is no original score for Before Sunset, just a couple of songs here and there that mostly serve as background filler and are used for transitions between scenes – with the exception of the song “A Waltz for a Night,” which plays a big part in the final scene of the film. They set the mood well and are a nice complement to the great conversations that Jesse and Celine have throughout.