Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 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.
  2. 88
    In the midst of summer's cinematic thunder and lightning, this is a rare moment of tranquility.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Magnificent but somewhat frustrating movie.
  6. All told, he's (Linklater) one of today's most versatile American filmmakers, and Before Sunset finds his light shining as brightly as ever.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    100
    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.
  8. It's "My Dinner With Andre" for the relationship generation.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. One of the most perfect endings of any film that comes to mind.
  12. 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.
  13. 90
    In the spirit of the original, Linklater closes with one of the best endings of its kind since George Romero's "Martin."
  14. Although the characters and their backstories are carefully thought out, Delpy and Hawke deliver their dialogue as if spontaneous and unmeditated.
  15. 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.
  16. This is a sequel just as intriguing as the original.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 100
    A vibrant emotional epic.
  20. 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.
  21. This is one of the most wildly romantic movies in ages.
  22. 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.
  23. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    100
    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.
  24. Romantic, real and as generous as it is vulnerable, the art of conversation has rarely been so acute, honest and revealing.
  25. 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.
  26. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    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."
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    100
    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.
  32. 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.
  33. Meandering but reasonably charming.
  34. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    60
    This sweet film is a genuine treat, even if there's little plot, no antic mayhem and its 90-minute running time is mostly consumed by nonstop, sometimes pretentious dialogue.
  35. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    80
    A savvy sequel that should speak to anyone who's let that one great love slip away.
  36. Reviewed by: Peter Hanson
    80
    The sequel is an uninterrupted 80-minute dialogue between two richly imagined and performed characters.
  37. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    60
    An intelligent, engagingly honest study of love lost and, just maybe, regained.
  38. Reviewed by: Karen Karbo
    100
    Hawke is not a brilliant actor, but here he rises to the occasion: Every inch of him registers the weight of this moment.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 245 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 89
  2. Negative: 15 out of 89
  1. Oct 4, 2012
    10
    Astonishing. 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.
    Amazing.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 20, 2013
    4
    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 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 »
  3. Jun 10, 2013
    9
    Back in 1995, Richard Linklater until then best-known for Slacker and Dazed And Confused left Kevin Smith to chronicle America's waster youth and made a small, offbeat romance called Before Sunrise. A deeply appealing two-hander about an American backpacker (Hawke) and a French student (then-unknown Delpy) who meet on a train and talk their way around Vienna, Before Sunrise charmed romantically-inclined twentysomethings everywhere. The crux of the matter in that film, of course, is that at the end the pair agree to meet six months on. Would they be there? Would they live happily ever after? It was fun to daydream, but ultimately, was that even the point? It is now. A decade later, Linklater rejoined by his two stars, who share the writing credits has produced a "real-time" sequel, catching up with Jesse and Celine nine years down the road a prospect that must strike both joy and trepidation into the hearts of devotees. Have they spoilt it all? Conversely, will it mean anything to those new to the pair? Should it ever have been made? The answers to these are broadly no, yes (there are even helpful flashbacks to the first film but oh don't they show how shockingly gaunt Hawke has become!) and, well, the third could generate debates to rival those of our spirited protagonists. Certainly there are problems with the film. A mere 80 minutes long, like Before Sunrise the structure of Before Sunset two people wander aimlessly, arguing, flirting, ultimately rejoicing in each other is not on paper the stuff of high drama, and some will find the lack of a definite story arc undisciplined and unengaging. Potentially more damaging is the abruptness of the ending which, coupled with the short running time, could leave some viewers wondering if the last reel slipped down the back of a filing cabinet. Teasingly frustrating in its ambiguity, the final scene languid, heady, sexy as hell eschews a solid, conventionally dramatic conclusion, instead taunting us with yet more questions some will love this, but after the building tension of the preceding moments, others will demand more. That said, there is still so much to love about Linklater's literate, candid, and this time necessarily more sombre film. Jesse and Celine, now in their early 30s and in theory older and wiser, are still as delightfully real as they were ten years ago. All credit to Hawke and Delpy, who hardly seem to be acting; they just are these characters. Meeting up by (almost) chance in Paris with mere hours until Jesse has to leave, the shell-shocked pair walk the streets of Le Marais and the Latin Quarter, stumbling from awkwardly polite niceties to heartfelt confessions and anxieties touching the very core of their "grown-up" lives the poignancy of regret, the loneliness of failing relationships, the agonising conflict between desire and duty universal subjects that extend beyond the parameters of Jesse and Celine's story and will strike a chord even with those unfamiliar with the first film. While some might balk at such wordiness, the film is far from earnest or depressing, full of humour and joy and the three writers counter any chance of boredom by dropping mini bombshells at regular intervals; tiny ripples on the Richter Scale, perhaps, but hugely important twists in the context of this couple. Set against the beauty of Paris cinematographer Lee Daniel hardly has to try! it's near impossible not to be seduced by this picture, the director nevertheless cranking up the aesthetics by filming the city in long, golden-dappled tracking shots that soothe the eye just as he tightens the emotional screws. An involving and all too fleeting joy. Full Review »