Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | October 11, 2009

Before Sunset (2004)



If you haven’t seen Before Sunrise, please do. I am not saying this sequel won’t make sense if you haven’t, but trust me it will be so much more meaning ful. You see, Before Sunset is the follow-up to Before Sunrise- a great emotional movie that took place in 1995. I previously wrote about the first movie. I have seen it a lot of times and after watching Before Sunset again,I felt I had to write about it.

I will feel free to give spoilers, because what might seem like a spoiler for the first movie, is actually the obligatory introduction to the second.

In Before Sunrise, we met Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). These 20 somethings met on a train while French Celine was going back to her hometown and American Jesse was on his way to Vienna where he was supposed to catch a flight the next day to the States.
Soon after they started talking, they actually bonded. Yeah, they were having fun being around each other and obviously there was attraction but the bond was also obvious. Two stranger, making a perfect connection through a chance encounter. Jesse didn’t want to let go of this and asked Celine to get off the train with him. She did. And they had an amazing day, and its night in Vienna. The bond got deeper, attraction grew and they just didn’t want to let go. To see how genuine the movie,the characters and the story go, to feel the passion and the magic of their relationship, you have to see the movie. And feel free to check imdb. It has been rated by more than 34.000 people, and it has been rated as an 8/1o. My point is if so many people agreed on this, it means both men and women liked it. It means a lot of people with different movie tastes loved it. It can’t be labeled as a mainstream movie nor it exactly fits the independent spirit where a minority seems to get the message of. It means the viwevers felt the connection as well and this does not happen very often.

So when I heard director Richard Linklater had made a sequel, I rushed to see it. You see Before Sunrise leaves you wondering whether Celine and Jesse will meet again. Whether they will have the same connection or not. The second movie answers these questions for the two characters we loved so much.

Celine and Jesse had agreed to meet 6 months later as Before Sunrise came to an end. We sadly find out that they weren’t able to.Somehow life had gotten in the way. In those 9 years, Jesse has written a book that is about their encounter. He is now at the last stop of his book tour, in Paris. As he hopes that she would, she comes to his book signing.
When she does show-up, they decided to spend Jesse’s last hours in the city together. They are both happy to see each other. So much has happened and they are more than eager to catch up. But since they are older, they seem weary of life, the heart-breaks and disapponitments they have gone through. They realize the connection is still there 9 years later. But now, things seem harder than ever. Jesse is i unhappily married with a 4-year-old kid. Celine’s hear doesn’t seem to be in the relationship she is having. Both have to face their feelings and they realize that the best time, and the best romance they had was 9 years ago,with each other,in Vienna…

It is fun,romantic,sad,heart-breaking,emotional,hopeful…It just leaves you feeling with a combination of a variety of feelings. You feel alive. Once again, it is just so easy to find yourself in Jesse and Celine. And you just cross fingers that this time they will stay together.

Is it as magical as the second movie? It depends. They were younger ,more romantic and more hopeful. They mention this in the second movie. They have grown up.We, the audience,have grown up. We have had more disappointments,heart-breaks,more journeys…We might have become more realistic and/or cynical. But the true spirit of the movie-that genuine honesty-is still the core here. Of course the romantic fool in me wished that they had met after six months. I wish that they had gotten together,stayed together,remained in love…But they didn’t. Life happened and they let life take its toll on them; on their beliefs,way of thinking. But at the same time, they didn’t change all that much. As Celine mentions in the movie, we don’t really change that much. No matter what self-defense mechanisms we develop, our hopes and dreams stay the same. So being together again just feels so right for them. It seems together that 9 years have passed.

The movie has been written by Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Hence the actors have co-written the screenplay, it is even easier for them to become to be Jesse and Celine. As I said, if you have seen the first one, you owe it yourself to see this. If you haven’t seen it, than go and just find Before Sunrise. I am still looking for a movie that will make me feel the same way these two did.

Before Sunset 3

Before Sunset




  1. i love this flick! so calm, so real-romantic as the first one “before sunrise”:)

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