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Before Sunset

2004-08-03 19:55:33.619049+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

In my list of all-time great movies, Before Sunrise[Wiki] appears somewhere near the top. On a train into Vienna for his flight home to the United States, Jesse (Ethan Hawke), too broke to pay for a hotel before his plane leaves in the morning, spots French tourist Celine (Julie Delpy), and offers up a brilliant speech telling her that he's doing her a favor, because ages from now when she's settled into the mundane family life she'll be able to look back at a night wandering through the city with the American stranger and say that the serendipitous encounter wasn't that strange after all.

So they spend the night wandering Vienna, the city and its residents providing a backdrop to the discussion of two idealistic twentysomethings with their unrealized dreams and desires.

I've tried to avoid a spoiler but can't in the context of discussing the sequel, so know that the ending in no way makes the journey less enjoyable; the film ends with them agreeing to meet in the train station 6 months hence, unwilling to exchange phone numbers or contact information because that would destroy the essence of their evening.

And we so strongly want to believe that they will make that connection.

Before Sunset[Wiki], in theaters now, opens 9 years later. The rendezvous failed. He's in Paris at a book signing for his novel recounting that night. She's lurking in the stacks of the bookshelves. In the 90 minutes he's got before his plane leaves, conversation ensues, except this time they're in their thirties, a little less filled with the passion of youth, a little more pragmatic about life and love, with the shields and blocks of those older and spurned once or twice in place.

Somehow Charlene claims to have managed to escape a 5 year relationship with me without having seen Before Sunrise[Wiki], but as we were walking away from the theater she said "can the original possibly be as good as the sequel?"

Yes, Before Sunset[Wiki] isn't just an excuse to cash in off of the original, it's a continuation of the story that started in Before Sunrise[Wiki], in a way that doesn't cheapen the original at all.

If you liked Before Sunrise[Wiki] this is a must-see. Even if you haven't seen it yet, this is one heck of a powerful romance that should still be accessible if you don't have the background of the original, and that doesn't cheapen itself by trying for "romantic comedy". Highly recommended!

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