User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 261 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 261

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  1. 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. Expand
  2. Jun 8, 2013
    9
    Even better than the amazing first film! Jesse and Celine reunite after 9 years and their relationship is just as affecting as ever. Before Sunset benefits (again) from a brilliant screenplay and a special/indescribable chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. This film cannot be missed.
  3. 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.
    Expand
  4. Apr 18, 2013
    10
    I re-watched both 'Sunrise' and 'Sunset' in preparation for 'Before Midnight'. 'Sunset' is my favourite of the two, perhaps the most beautifully romantic movie of all time! Kudos to the director that makes himself invisible and reels you in with his skill and kudos to the actors that absolutely make you fall in love with and root for them! What strikes me is how each time I watch this movie, I discover something new relatable in the conversation. And then there are the questions! Is duty more important than authenticity? Is time relevant? Is love worth the risk? The price? What does it mean being mature and responsible? Are the choices we make truly our own or is fate and circumstance the defining factor? I find Jesse to be the more hopeful about life in this round, in spite of his miserable marriage and Celine the more vulnerable in spite of all the armour she has built over the years to avoid pain. The boat and the car scene are for me among the most memorable moments I have ever experienced at the movies. The ending could not have been more fitting and perfect, but somehow I have no doubt about the outcome, he has no choice but to miss that plane. Can't wait to listen in on another walk and talk of these two in a month or so in 'Before Midnight'. Am I a goofball or what! Expand
  5. Jan 8, 2013
    9
    How often can you study love on the big screen? My ex lent this to me as an example of what love "should be like". I guess I can only agree that it portrays romantic love as realistically as one could ask of a movie. The ending is great since it makes you reflect on your own hopes and expectations.
  6. 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.
  7. Mar 21, 2011
    0
    I fell asleep after 15 minutes and woke up 30 minutes later, only to see both of them STILL walking around Paris, engaged in endless and meaningless babble. There is absolutely no tension between both characters, and if there were, it would be annihilated by the incredible amount of senseless words that come out of their mouths. The whole movie reminded me of two girls, or two housewifes, talking to each other. You see it every day. They talk for hours, and every man wonders: how can a person talk so much ? In addition, and that is what I was thinking during the entire movie, every man simply wants to scream: SHUT UP !!! Expand
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Hanson
    80
    The sequel is an uninterrupted 80-minute dialogue between two richly imagined and performed characters.
  2. This is one of the most wildly romantic movies in ages.
  3. 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.