Before Sunset

Before Sunset ★★★★★

Richard Linklater — Ranked

"Baby, you are gonna miss that plane."

Part I of my Richard Linklater Double Feature

I'm still hypnotized by Julie Delpy's little dance and sultry Nina Simone impression. It's the romantic ending to end them all and a moment that slapped a big grin on my face as the best romance film I've ever seen slowly faded away.

Richard Linklater's Before Sunset is such a subtle film about love, loss and regret that is emotional when it needs to be and crushingly heartbreaking only to bring us all out of it on a complete and utter high for the spell that Ethan Hawke, Delpy and Linklater spin for us. Where Before Sunrise was a sweet, carefree portrait of finding love, Before Sunset shows what happens when that love goes unrequited and then time takes its toll.

In the nine years between when Jesse and Celine met in that glorious 24 hours in Vienna, they've loved and lost, experienced successes and failures and have grown into adulthood. Linklater puts the audience in the middle of it all and has his characters slowly unravel what the last nine years of their lives have been like. It turns out that you can never forget any time you've fallen in love. It's a feeling that stays with you for all time. You can't shake it or deny its existence. Other people might float in and out of your life, but those feelings and that person lies in the background, waiting to be reawakened.

And now I'm spinning some philosophical bullshit that doesn't come close to Linklater, Hawke and Delpy's screenplay, which is tender and honest to the core. Passion exudes through this movie and it's all got to do with the chemistry of the aforementioned triumvirate, who bring life and vitality into these fully realized characters with every word, look and mannerism this movie brings. Delpy is magnificent in this movie, beautiful, strong and charismatic. Hawke is charming and plays the high-minded, suave guy with barely a hint of pretension. It all feels so real and the magic lies in the spectacular screenplay and the flawless acting.

Before Sunset is an absolute masterpiece of the romance genre and something every couple should see. Its ethereal qualities will stay with me for a long time and only improve on rewatches.

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