movie film review | chris tookey

Before Sunset

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  Before Sunset Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
8.57 /10
Ethan Hawke , Julie Delpy ,

Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Released: 2004
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 80

All-time-great dating movie for intelligent couples.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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In the cult hit Before Sunrise (1995), two twentysomethings, one American (Ethan Hawke), one French (Julie Delpy) met on a train in Europe, talked a very great deal, and made love. They parted, promising to meet each other in six months’ time. Though no blockbuster, the film became a modest success, especially with those in their twenties, who found the characters a good deal less annoying and immature than I did. Director Richard Linklater’s sequel reunites the same characters nine years on. Both have been battered by life, and are a good deal less blase about their ability to find true love
(“We were young and stupid,” admits one; “Hear hear” say I.)

This makes them much more vulnerable and sympathetic; and even though they still talk a great deal about themselves in very long takes (one lasts 11 minutes), there is a much greater sense of forward momentum in the plot - plus a saving sense of humour.

The result is a film which won’t have the same appeal to over-serious twentysomethings who dress entirely in black; but it should strike every older age-group as one of the most delightful, realistic and subtly subversive love stories in years.

The film is similar in its gently ironic approach to veteran French director Eric Rohmer’s best pictures, such as Claire’s Knee, and is surprisingly cinematic given the smallness of its scale. This is not for those who require explosions and car chases in their movies, but it makes a pleasant change to see recognisable, likeable characters in a romantic drama.

With this and the hit comedy School of Rock, Linklater is maturing into an intelligent and versatile director who isn’t afraid to be unobtrusive and serve his actors and script, which he co-wrote.

Neither actor has done anything better. It doubtless helps that both contributed to the screenplay, and have sunk a lot of their own identities into the characters. But it’s Julie Delpy who is the revelation, giving the kind of lively, sensitive and utterly real performance that deserves to revive her flagging career.

Yes, this film is talky, but the talk is refreshingly articulate, and anything but inconsequential. The Me-generation values are suspect in the way they dress up selfishness to look like a disinterested search for self-fulfilment; but at least they’re honestly and endearingly expressed.

Some men are bound to be deterred by the high romantic content, but Before Sunset delivers romance while managing also to be tough and refreshingly astute about male and female sexual differences.

This is that extreme rarity, a “chick flick” that men who can be bothered to think about relationships will also enjoy – an all-time-great dating movie for intelligent couples.

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