Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39

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Critic Reviews

  1. This is one of the most wildly romantic movies in ages.
  2. 100
    Summer sequelitis is upon us, but the season is unlikely to bring anything more remarkable than Richard Linklater's sweet, smart, and deeply romantic Before Sunset.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Yep, this movie is basically a yakfest, but an incredibly fluid and involving one, and if you have any kind of affinity for either of the characters, you’re bound to find the picture a kind of miracle.
  4. The new film, which unfolds in real time over the course of 80 minutes, is a deeper, darker, altogether more memorable experience. It doesn't extend the characters so much as fulfill them.
  5. This is a romance with minimal physical contact and sex--and that's part of what makes it work so well as a love story.
  6. 100
    What ultimately makes Before Sunset so special (and maybe the most resonant, least self-conscious “great movie romance” of its era) is its deep-rooted honesty -- the way it takes the bitter with the sweet and somehow leaves us feeling elated.
  7. All told, he's (Linklater) one of today's most versatile American filmmakers, and Before Sunset finds his light shining as brightly as ever.
  8. It's great to see an American filmmaker - and a successful one at that - willing to simply train his cameras on the actors and let them, and their characters, come to life.
  9. Romantic, real and as generous as it is vulnerable, the art of conversation has rarely been so acute, honest and revealing.
  10. Because Linklater now wears his heart on his sleeve, he has made a film that in its joy, optimism and aesthetic achievement keeps faith with American cinema at its finest.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A movie this diminutive can be easily oversold, but we might see it on some year-end best lists. It eats at you, just like renewed love.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    That rose in the desert, a sequel that improves in every way upon its beloved predecessor and a romance that slowly builds a fire from embers thought dead.
  13. Magnificent but somewhat frustrating movie.
  14. 100
    Chance encounters and fated love are the stuff of fairy tales, which is what makes the deliriously romantic sequel Before Sunset a small miracle.
  15. 100
    Although there isn't a single kiss in this love story, it's intensely erotic -- and more to the point, it's not afraid of eroticsm's juicier and more forthright twin, carnality.
  16. One of the most perfect endings of any film that comes to mind.
  17. 100
    Hawke is not a brilliant actor, but here he rises to the occasion: Every inch of him registers the weight of this moment.
  18. 100
    A vibrant emotional epic.
  19. 100
    Although it is technically a sequel, Before Sunset stands perfectly well on its own. In fact, the new movie plays better if you haven't seen the original for a while, so its details have grown appropriately fuzzy.
  20. The result is a peculiar small gem, a true Linklater gem. The verity of the film, rather than any novelty or twist, keeps us fixed.
  21. 90
    The movie is an O. Henry-like conceit--the slenderness of the initial premise is part of the charm--but the anecdote becomes almost momentous as it goes on.
  22. 90
    In the spirit of the original, Linklater closes with one of the best endings of its kind since George Romero's "Martin."
  23. Although the characters and their backstories are carefully thought out, Delpy and Hawke deliver their dialogue as if spontaneous and unmeditated.
  24. 88
    In the midst of summer's cinematic thunder and lightning, this is a rare moment of tranquility.
  25. The naturalistic dialogue is a masterful bit of writing, credited to Linklater and his "Sunrise" co-writer Kim Krizan, as well as to the two stars.
  26. 88
    The film has the materials for a lifetime project; like the "7-Up" series, this is a conversation that could be returned to every 10 years or so, as Celine and Jesse grow older.
  27. This is a sequel just as intriguing as the original.
  28. The ex-lovers' new conversation is stimulating and banal, selfish and broad-minded, affectionate and recriminatory, insightful and obtuse - in short, the kind of dialogue two people might have while pouring out their hearts and poring over their pasts.
  29. 80
    The sequel is an uninterrupted 80-minute dialogue between two richly imagined and performed characters.
  30. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    A savvy sequel that should speak to anyone who's let that one great love slip away.
  31. The script of Before Sunset is both rambling and self-conscious, and at times it has the self-important sound of clever writing. But though it is sometimes maddening, the movie's prodigious verbiage is also enthralling.
  32. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The bad news is that Before Sunset is not as delirious an experience as its predecessor. The good news is that it's wonderful anyway, and in ways that tell us something about our romance with "Before Sunrise."
  33. 80
    Anything that inspires that many whoops, gasps and groans with only two actors and a few choice words has earned its place at the summertime box office trough.
  34. 75
    There is something uniquely unforgettable in the way Linklater, Hawke and Delpy (equal collaborators on the script) find nuance, art and eroticism in words, spoken and unspoken. The actors shine.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 312 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 92
  2. Negative: 16 out of 92
  1. Oct 4, 2012
    Astonishing. Not just incredibly well-written and wonderfully engaging - you never feel like it's film because there is always a great senseAstonishing. Not just incredibly well-written and wonderfully engaging - you never feel like it's film because there is always a great sense of reality to it.
    Full Review »
  2. Kristin
    Sep 21, 2005
    I find it truly alarming and dismaying that so many critics find this film to be lovely and romantic and intelligent. I found it to be I find it truly alarming and dismaying that so many critics find this film to be lovely and romantic and intelligent. I found it to be offensive and self important. How can anyone take to heart the intellectual prattling of a man who is willing to walk out on his wife and 4 year old son for a fantasy relationship with a woman he has known for 9 hours.? Its disgusting, spineless and utterly selfish. Ethan Hwake's character needs to hurry home, help his wife with the dishes and take his son to tee ball. Delpy needs to stick with unmarried men and maybe volunteer caring for infants at a maternity ward or something. It seems to me that we should be cheering couples with children on rather than telling stories that romanticize abandoning one's family. Am I the only one who finds this profoundly disturbing? Full Review »
  3. Apr 20, 2013
    I am amazed that people have the same response to this film as they do to Before Sunrise. My experience was the polar opposite of the one II am amazed that people have the same response to this film as they do to Before Sunrise. My experience was the polar opposite of the one I had with the first film in this series. The dialogue in Before Sunrise was fresh, romantic, and funny. The characters were endearing, I cared what happened to them and I wanted them to be together. In Before Sunset the characters have become jaded. They have white people problems. Life just is not turning out how they had hoped. They have good jobs, and people who love them but it is not enough. They want the romance back in their life, for things to be new again. Where in the first film it felt like they respected each others opinion, they were free to disagree without judgement. Here it feels as though they are preaching at each other. I'm right because my experiences dictate that I'm right. Your opinions are less valuable then mine because you don't have the same worldly experiences as me. These are certainly not unusually drawn characters for 30 somethings with similar cultural backgrounds, and are probably accurate more times than not. However spending an hour and a half with no one but these two people was not the pleasure it was the first time around, and at times was insufferable.

    My respect for Hawke's character lessens even further in the third act when he begins to talk about his marriage. This is not a spoiler as we are to notice his ring right away and frequently throughout the first half. It is obvious he values little of the institution he has entered into, and instead has taken the typical modern approach to his vows. Perhaps and likely all of my issues with the film are Linklater's point. Perhaps these are typical views for people their age. my problem is I spent the first film with unique people. Characters who were looking at the world differently, with compassion and understanding. I couldn't wait to spend time with those people again. Those people are gone.
    Full Review »