Before Sunset (2004) - 10 stars out of 10
“Before Sunset” is one of the most amazing, real love stories out there. Like the other films in this series, all of the dialogue feels completely candid as the story of Jesse and Céline unravels in real time. With just an hour in Paris to catch up on the past nine years since their first meeting, the mood transitions from friendly to sentimental to hostile to regret. On a different level, we discover the masks of happiness that both characters wear and see those masks slowly disintegrate to reveal their true dissatisfaction with life, unable to find any experience that matches that one night when they first met. It is ludicrous that this screenplay lost to “Sideways” during the Oscars. Has there ever been a more genuine conversational dialogue written? I think not. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s chemistry is stronger than the first film and that true longing is in their eyes. I cannot imagine a more vivid portrayal of love. While the synopsis of the film might make it sound like the same story in a new city, it is completely unique because the characters have changed over the past nine years. We get to meet each character in a completely new way. Although I love this film’s predecessor “Before Sunrise” and highly recommend seeing it, this film could actually stand on its own as it explains the entire first film through several brief flashbacks (literally a few second each). The subtlety of the final scene is the greatest romantic moment, as Céline plays the guitar and sings a song that she wrote about that night that changed their lives. “Before Sunset” is a must-see. It will change your perception of love forever.