Sunday, April 14, 2013

Masterpieces Classics: Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset is neither my favorite movie of all time, nor is it even the best of 2004 (I would put Million Dollar Baby and Eternal Sunshine ahead of it). But that does not mean the film is masterpiece, because it quite simply just is.

The film is a direct sequel to Before Sunrise, a sumptuously romantic film that I thought was missing something. And after watching Before Sunset, I figure that it was chemistry that was missing. You can argue that since Jesse and Celine just met, they wouldn't have much chemistry. That is a true point, but maybe Before Sunrise was just destined for imperfection.

Alas, it was unintentional buildup to the real-time 80-minute romance set in Paris. Jesse, the man in the one-day romance, meets Celine at a bookshop. It has been 9 years since they last saw each other, and at that point, there was no other meeting. They are initially distant, since they were supposed to meet each other before this unplanned meeting.

Linklater [Richard] is at his best here. He can handle time in films very very well, as seen in Dazed and Confused. Before Sunset, as previously stated, moves in a span of about 80 minutes. The film is almost all dialog between Jesse and Celine, with the beginning having some flashbacks for new viewers.

After meeting, Jesse and Celine talk about life and walk about Paris. Their dialog is music to the ears, and each word has a presence of hostility. Their romance will never work, as Jesse is married, and distrust still remains. The screenplay was co-written by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, which deservedly got a nomination in the screenplay category.

It has been 9 years since 2004. Before Midnight, this film's sequel, has gotten raves out of Sundance and Belin. I cannot wait to see what more happens between Jesse and Celine.

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