out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Vernon Dobtcheff, Diabolo, Albert Delpy, Mariane Plasteig, Marie Pillet, Rodolphe Pauly||
Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4
Back in 1995, independent filmmaker Richard Linklater scored with "Before
Sunrise," the quirky story of two strangers, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine
(Julie Delpy), who meet on a train and decide to stay together, from
mid-afternoon to the following morning, in Vienna. Before they separate - he to
go back to New York, she to go home to Paris - they agree to meet in Vienna six
months later. Not wishing to be "ordinary," they never exchange addresses or
In "Before Sunset," nine years has passed. Having published his first
novel, Jesse is in Paris giving a reading at the famous Shakespeare & Co.
bookstore when he suddenly spots Celine, whom he's wildly romanticized in his
book which is based on the night they spent together. Delighted, yet a bit
wary, they tentatively rediscover one another. Still single, she's in a
dead-end relationship while he's unhappily married yet devoted to his four
year-old son. Wondering what might have been, they have just a few hours to
figure out if they belong together.
Reminiscent of Louis Malle's "My Dinner With Andre," this is an
intelligent, conversation-driven piece, delving into fate, the meaning of life,
the nature of love and the significance of sex and relationships, encompassing
both regret and despair. Writer/director Linklater filmed for only 15 days with
a minuscule budget, and the dialogue often seems improvised. In contrast, Lee
Daniel's cinematography is carefully calculated - with the focus never shifting
from Hawke and Delpy, even as the Parisian background changes. Slipping
flawlessly back into their established roles, the actors quickly establish a
credible emotional connection. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Before
Sunset" is a sad, romantic 7 with a suitably ambiguous conclusion.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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