Thursday, December 02, 2004

SEE: Before Sunset (2004)

In the prequel, Before Sunrise, a young American, Jesse, meets a lovely French girl, Celine, on a train in Europe. They get off in Vienna, frolick through the city while doing a lot of talking, and fall in love. The next morning they have to go their separate ways but promise each other to meet back at the same exact spot six months later. They never do.

Before Sunrise picks up their story nine years later after that intense romantic encounter in Vienna. This time, they meet in Paris. In the intervening years, Jesse had married and now has a young son. Celine is still single. Jesse is mired in a loveless marriage. Celine can't seem to hold a relationship down - the men keep leaving and go on to marry other women eventually.

This film takes place in real-time and follows Jesse and Celine catching up on old times as they stroll through Paris before Jesse has to go to the airport in 80 minutes or so to catch his flight.

All you see is these two talking. Sounds kinda boring right? But it's not. The stuff they say, nay rather how it's said and moreover what's not said but felt are what's compelling. You get totally engrossed in their situation. There's much tension hanging in the air. You know both want to get into each others' pants, but Jesse's got that ring around his finger. But more than that, lost possibilities, the what if's, are what makes their predicament so sad. Would both not be so miserable in their love lives if they had reunited like they planned all those years ago?

Nine years is a long time. In that time both have grown disillusioned, bitter, and cynical about love. But they still long for that happy ending.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy deliver awesome performances. They have the art of conversation down. They do it like real people would in real life. There is such great chemistry between them. It's a pleasure to watch them as their conversation unfolds.

I did not see the prequel before watching Before Sunset. I watched it immediately after coming back home from the cinema. That one is a fine film, too, but I kept rolling my eyes at their ideal romance. I relate more to the cynical, disillusioned view they hold in the sequel, which is sad because I'm only 24, and it's too premature to think that way already.

::5 stars::