If you’ve considered seeing Before Sunset, be sure to see Before Sunrise first, and try and keep your romantic heart inside your chest since it will want to burst out at times.
As the second in the now-complete Before trilogy, Before Sunset captures and matures the relationship in Before Sunrise, without losing the essence of what made the first movie enjoyable: rather than giving us the happy ending right from the beginning, it makes us ride the emotional rollercoaster. Delpy and Hawke come back to their roles as slightly more developed actors, and are capable of working through the even-longer dialogue scenes (one of them must have been a good seven minute single-shot!) while still maintaining our attention as the tension between them builds.
One of the best moments in the entire movie is captured in the accompanying screenshot: the small moment of impossible tenderness between these two characters-in-crisis could easily be missed, but is so perfectly human that it’s an indelible moment in my memory. How could Linklater have written the blocking between these characters that well?
This movie, as much as Before Sunrise, is a move about and containing just two people; everyone else is background noise. That’s challenging for one film, and is in no way reduced for a second. Nonetheless, Before Sunset seems to raise the bar, and the ending is one of the best cliffhangers I’ve had the pleasure to watch recently. One can only imagine what it felt like for audiences who knew they had another 10 years to wait in order to find out what happened next.
In many years...
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