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Before Sunset

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Before Sunset

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Director: Richard Linklater
Rated: R
RunTime: 80 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*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 phone numbers.

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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