I gave myself a couple days between Sunrise and Sunset to let it sink in. It could have waited nine years so as to get the full experience like those who saw them in theaters, but I found that notion completely unnecessary.
Released in 2004, Before Sunset picks up nine years after the events of Sunrise and our characters have grown and changed. The night that they shared is still fresh on Jesse’s mind who has written a book about that night in Vienna with Celine. It is unclear at this point whether or not Jesse and Celine had met six months later at the train station in Vienna like they promised they would when they left. While on a press tour he finds himself in Paris. He dismisses questions about the autobiographical nature of his book, possibly preventing himself from getting hurt, but then Celine appears, she has come to find him.
The two are reunited, and so they spend the afternoon talking and catching up. Jesse is married and has a kid, but things are not all that he hopes for. There is no passion like with Celine, who has found her way into a great job, as well as a less-than-perfect relationship. The two spend their time reminiscing about their immaturity and how stupid they were that they didn’t exchange any sort of contact information. Jesse showed up at the train station six months later, while Celine did not.
This sequel is a lot less passion fueled. Both are in relationships, and yet there is no grand romantic gesture by either of them. They have matured but the chemistry and emotions are still there.
Again, Linklater crafts an honest and real script which the actors performed extraordinarily. The actors perfectly sink back into their roles despite having nine years pass, and their connection is still very visible.
The movie is a lot more reflective than hopeful. While we do wonder if they will get together at the end, we are caught up in the history and the nostalgia of the past nine years. There is something so real about having these characters evolve off-screen, as if they were just two people that Linklater found on the street. Again, I will not go into any spoilers in this one, but again the ending leaves us with a sense of uncertainty. Will the passion keep them together? Or will they simply move on from one another and continue on with their lives?
So, if you have seen Before Sunrise and have yet to see this, I think you owe it to yourself to take a look at how these characters have evolved in the time since the first one. Of course, there is a third movie so we know that somehow they end up back in each other’s company.
Again, check back soon for my review of Before Midnight, once I am able to procure it.