Before Sunset (Richard Linklater – 2005) A+

I do not think that Celine and Jesse really understood the impact of that night in Vienna on their lives. If they  (well, Celine really) did they would not have missed meeting Jesse 6 months later as she and Jesse agreed to do at the end of Before Sunrise . She probably would have missed her grandmother’s funeral and made it to that train station. Instead about 10 years pass by before they meet again this time in beautiful Paris. Jesse is there on the final stop of his book tour. His book is basically an account, a fictionalization, of that fateful night when he met the love of his life.

Much has changed in their lives and we catch up on everything through their engrossing conversation. Celine makes it a point to be at the book shop for his reading. Jesse basically was hoping she would. He is married now and has a young boy. She had many love interests but nothing permanent. Jesse is not very happy and both of them know that the night they spent in Vienna was really something special. Through the span of only a few hours Jesse and Celine go through 10 years of pent up emotion ranging from love , blame, anger and disappointment. They are older now of course and their conversation takes the tone of individuals who have had many more experiences than their much younger selves in 1995. Celine is an activist and staunch liberal. Jesse is more of an easy going writer with no strong beliefs. All that, as interesting as it is, is just icing. The real conversation veers toward them and their personal lives. She wanted every man she dated to have been Jesse and they were not. He married out of loyalty but is not in love and heading towards a breakup. An why, oh why, did she not meet him at the train  station? How on earth could they not have exchanged actual concrete information about themselves (like last names! Contact information!) after they parted in Vienna? Oh, how their lives could’ve been different.

As the evening flight time for Jesse to take back to the US approaches they have to decide. If they part again this time around, they will most likely never meet again. Maybe that is best. Should they just keep that idea of an amazing life together just an ideal in both of their minds or give it a shot and see what actaully happens. I won’t spoil it here for the 2 or 3 individual  who might be actually reading this and are interested in watching the film. These movies might seem easy to make, but they really are not. Linklater  choreographs and plots all the dialogue to the last detail so as to make it seem like these two people are just having a conversation. Nothing here is improvised, but the actors do a fantastic job that we feel by that we know them so well. We like them. Like Celine and Jesse who pick up their conversation naturally and effortlessly after 10 years of not seeing each other we do the same. We are right there with them.


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