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Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
Actors: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torres, Rodolphe Pauly
Director: Richard Linklater
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2004     3hr 1min


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Movie Details

Actors: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Vernon Dobtcheff, Louise Lemoine Torres, Rodolphe Pauly
Director: Richard Linklater
Creators: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Richard Linklater, Anne Walker-McBay, Ellen Winn Wendl, Gernot Schaffler, Kim Krizan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/09/2004
Original Release Date: 01/27/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 01/27/1995
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 3hr 1min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, German
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Movie Reviews

Before Sunrise and Before Sunset: Turning A Diamond in the L
J. Goldiamond | The Netherlands | 05/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It surprised me to read somewhere that Richard Linklater, who directed both films, did not actually have the experience of falling in love with a French woman on a train in Europe. Both "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" benefit from a feeling of complete authenticity, as if the people responsible for delivering and interpreting the storyline must've "been there, done that..."

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy inhabit their roles to a point of perfection. Delpy creates such an indelible image of a young Parisian woman (with Left Bank leanings) that she could not be anything but. And Hawke incarnates perfectly the type of inquisitive, literary, and (romantically) intense young American male who stands a chance with a woman such as we find in Delpy. The 2nd film opens with Hawke doing a reading from his own novel on the second floor of Shakespeare & Co., wedding beautifully character and setting, as Hawke is exactly the type of young American who would be at home in George Whitman's Left Bank bookstore.

An American, I spent my youth and then some in Paris. In fact, I met my wife, who is French, on a train, which is the way Hawke and Delpy meet in the first of these films. And like our two protagonists, during our ride together we wrapped each other in words and our own special dialogue, which is the right word, as we were busy creating a moment which would have no place in real life: this was, after all, only a train ride.

We knew we would never see each other again, which meant time was both our prison and our liberator, confining the duration of our experience yet setting us free within it. And, that's how things stood for four or five years, until chance (nudged along) brought us together, again.

One more thing about the 2nd film. Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke create a paean to Paris, a song of enrapture for the city that succeeds like nothing else since Hemingway and Fitzgerald lived there in the early 1920's. Unstated, it's all in the afternoon and evening light, which seems to dissolve off the screen in total realness.

The film was like an exquisite French meal of the sort you can easily find when dining out in Paris with French friends. You leave completely satiated. What has satiated you, though, beyond the food and wine which have touched your palette, is the conversation you've had with your company, built over several courses and all the pauses between. It's the conversation that you share and create together that lifts a good meal and wine to greatness. This is a relevant note as this pair of films is carried on dialogue as much as it is on beauty.

Neither film could be better; they're as good as it gets.

We'll always have Vienna!
M. R. Estante | North America | 11/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are atypical twists on the theme of "The one that got away". In the summer of 1994, Texas native Jesse meets a young Frenchwoman Celine on a train bound for Paris and both on impulse spend 14 hours in Vienna talking through the night like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone De Beavoir (except they actually LIKE each other). It's an intellectual match and a chemical attraction between two early 20-something adults who still have the idealism of the moment that youth is known for. At the end of their long night of goodbye Jesse and Celine depart at the train station and promise to meet up in six months time for Christmas. Before Sunrise ends with a the question of whether they did in fact, reunite in Europe.

In 2004 we get the answer. Missed connection. Bad timing and the reunion in Paris a decade later. Older, into their 30's, and significant life events behind them, Jesse and Celine pick up where they left off. Jesse went to meet Celine in Vienna but she was stuck in Paris due to her grandmother's funeral. While Jesse and Celine repeat their Vienna moments in Paris, they discover all the times they missed each other over the years in New York City. Jesse is in a loveless marriage with a young son who keeps him there. Celine has her life in Paris and is still a singleton. Before Sunset makes you wish with an intensity that they met up in Vienna in 1994 and also that they don't blow this second chance.

Perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon when you're in the mood to ponder "what might have been". Even though Julie Delphy wrote soundtrack songs for both films, one song really seems to summarize what the twin films key message seems to convey - Bad Timing, that's all by Blue Rodeo.

Bad Timing lyrics:

Hey it's me what a big surprise
Calling you up from a restaurant
Around the bend
Just got in from way up North
I'm aching tired now
And I could use a friend
Might be a fool
To think that you do
Want to see me again

I Know it's been awhile since I talked to you
Nothing wrong
Just nothing ever goes as planned
Many times I thought I'd call
Didn't have your number in my hand
I know it's true
You'd never do
The same thing to me

I never meant to make you cry
And though I know I shouldn't call
It just reminds us of the cost
Of everything we've lost
Bad timing that's all

And maybe soon there'll come a day
When no more tears will fall
We each forgive a little bit
And we both look back on it
As just bad timing that's all

Used to have so many plans
Something always seemed to turn out wrong
Never could catch up to you
Moving on and doing all you've done
I don't know why
The harder I try
The harder it comes

I never meant to make you cry
And though I know I shouldn't call
It just reminds us of the cost
Of everything we've lost
Bad timing that's all

And maybe soon there'll come a day
When no more tears will fall
We each forgive a little bit
And we both look back on it
Just bad timing that's all

We each forgive a little bit
And we both look back on it
Just bad timing that's all
Love Linklater style.
The Wickerman | Austin, TX | 03/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"So I've been on a pretty big Richard Linklater kick here lately. His profoundly minimalist and surreally thought-provoking films never fail to intrigue and perplex me. "Before Sunrise" and its companion "Before Sunset" are thus far among his most charming and engaging works. I must say though, after experiencing the absolutely mind-bending journey that is "Waking Life" (which I can only describe as a mad cross between "Slacker" and "The Wall"), something like this, while still pretty far from mainstream, seemed pretty pleasant and benign by comparison.

However, that's a relative measure, as this is not your average love story. It begins with "Before Sunrise", in which we see a young man named Jessie (Ethan Hawke), a tourist from America traveling across Europe. While on a train to Vienna, he meets a lovely French girl named Celine (Julie Delpy), and the two immediately hit it off. They end up spending the day together in Vienna, but both know that soon they must go their separate ways. This brings us to the sequel, "Before Sunset", where fate brings them back together 9 years later.

First of all, I'm glad to see that I'm able to review the two movies as a whole here, because to me it feels more like one continuous journey, even with the 9-year gap in between. After watching the first movie, I was a bit worried that making a sequel would ruin everything somehow, but it felt like such a perfect and natural continuation and the ending (which also could have potentially ruined everything) was about as flawless of a conclusion as they could have possibly done.

In true Linklater fashion, the structure of both films is very minimalist. The whole thing is essentially one long conversation, with the two characters moving from one setting to another (think "Slacker", but if they stayed with the same characters instead of constantly moving to new ones). The two touch on various deep and philosophical subjects, as well as goofy random things, and their chemistry is so perfect and natural you keep forgetting that you're watching a movie, and not just two people having a real conversation. As always, Hawke deftly delivers Linklater's cerebral dialogue like an Olivier to his Shakespeare, and Delpy brings to her character such a perfect combination of wit, sophistication, and charm. The two characters are both very intelligent, but not in a pretentious way that detracts from the human quality. That way, they still feel like "real people", even if they're not your average joes.

In the second film, we see the two reuniting in Paris, and while they've both moved on with their lives, that connection between them is obviously still there. This one gets a bit more intense emotionally, as the past 9 years have created a lot of unresolved feelings and issues between them that finally have the chance to come to the surface. This sort of takes away from the randomness and brings forth some semblance of (gasp!) a plot, but still the whole "movie about nothing" feel is never completely lost.

Overall, this is the kind of love story that I enjoy. It's never overly sappy or romantic for its own sake, and it doesn't insult your intelligence with some outrageous farfetched story. It's just a very natural and realistic story, and the circumstances create this sort of serendipitious romance that still somehow feels plausible. We've all experienced that "one that got away" kind of situation, and usually you just never see them again, but sometimes life gives you that sort of second chance, and it feels like some sort of fantastic fantasy. And, I like how they show that this second chance isn't without its complications, as opposed to just being "Yay, we're back together". That's what makes it feel more realistic and believable to me, that it's not perfect, that there's a lot of reality to go along with the fantasy.

Anyway, I feel I'm rambling a bit now, but I thoroughly enjoyed both of these films, and I think it's essential that they be viewed back to back. As with most Linklater films there is the inevitable "this isn't for everyone" disclaimer, but I think these are actually among his more accessible works (not including the more mainstream stuff like "Newton Boys" and "School of Rock"). While I enjoyed films like "Slacker" and "Waking Life", those were more like a pure assault on your mind, while here there's more of an emotional aspect to go along with making you think, and I really appreciated that. It manages to be simultaneously sweet and cerebral, which is very difficult to do this well. Even if you're not a Linklater fan, and you just appreciate a heart-warming if not unconventional love story, these two films are a must-see.

(Also, if you're brave enough to take on "Waking Life", Jessie and Celine make a sort of cameo appearance in it. It's not supposed to be canon with this story, but it's still pretty cool.)"