on 1 February 2005
Righto, I've been sitting here for a while trying to figure out how to do justice to these movies in a paragraph and I'm not sure I can. Basically, for anyone who has ever loved the idea of meeting someone by chance and connecting with them in a way you'll never forget (or if you're lucky, you actually experienced it!), these movies are for you! While watching these movies, I simply didn't want them to end. The cast is excellent, the dialogue is superb and refreshingly realistic, the backdrops (Vienna and Paris, respectively) are perfectly romantic, and best of all the endings of both movies are NOT CHEESY. I, like many fans of the first one I'm sure, was a little apprehensive before watching the second one. Although I felt the movie was a little short (but hey if time flies then it's a good movie right?), I was very satisfied with it. What fantastic characters! When I think romantic movie, I think of these. If you haven't seen either of them, you're in for a treat! Enjoy!
These films are so good its almost unbeleivable to me how I hadn't seen them before I saw them today. They capture a sense of how men and women relate when they click together: that wonderful moment not of sexual satisfaction but when mentality, personality and appearance mesh together into one mix, when you find that someone is a friend and something more drifts in the atmosphere. What I love is the ambiguity of the picture- the moment that they move from friends to lovers is undefined. They seem to be in love with each other though for something and yet they live very different lives. THis is the most intelligent modern film about love I've seen in that its one of the few in which you can tell why two people love each other, because they can't stop talking to each other. It isn't profound, but it is a stunning portrayel of a moment in everyone's lives.
on 16 February 2006
These two movies are simply a treat. Each holds their own. Each is a masterclass in dialogue. No violence, no profanity, no sex. Instead, we’re given intelligent writing and believable characters whom we care about. The first half (Before Sunrise) deals with two early-twenty-somethings who meet on a train and spend 24 hours together -- doing what early-twenty-somethings do when they're keen -- finding out all they can about each other (subtly at times), and attempting to impress each other (with a quiet cleverness, of course). By-products of this underlying mission are conversations on life, the universe, cultural traps (the ugly American and the sophisticated European) and just about everything else that two people who are mental and spiritual soulmates can find to talk about. You, the viewer, are the eavesdropper, and it is a privilege. It is written in a way that feels inclusive because the characters are real and their situation is real and the viewer can relate. The theme is universal. Our desire to connect, to see the world and to interpret life from a shared understanding that does not need ground rules or explanation or even acknowledgment. It is just there. Nine years later they meet up again (Before Sunset). This time it is for 77 minutes (real time). Roles have reversed somewhat (I found). The cynic is less of one, the shyer more naïve of the two has taken on the more cynical role. Nothing is overt. Nothing is over-the-top. The intelligence of both movies is in their subtlety. There are intriguing coincidences and references but all are delicately presented -- a bit of the unbearable lightness of being. The no-wasted-word dialogue covers a vast amount of territory but somehow retains a casual, realistic effect. Each film could be viewed on its own, but together they make for a powerful, intense film experience – for those who like to think and reflect and be entertained at the same time.
on 2 May 2009
In my opinion, both these films are incredibly beautifully produced and would appeal to any romantics out there! I found that both actors - Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke were mesmerising and gave very memorable performances, especially as they made it all seem so natural, and that paired with the clever filming of the gorgeous scenery of both Vienna and Paris, just adds to the whole wonderful experience, and makes you feel like you are actually there - or at least that you want to be!. Also, sometimes when films have been "mostly about the chat", I have felt my mind wandering, but not at all with this film - I was totally drawn in right from the start, and that's where I stayed, hanging onto every word and eager to know how the story ends. I've discovered that I totally adore Julie Delpy, as not only is she beautiful, but I could listen to her gorgeous accent for hours (and when she sings the song in the second film to Jessie, it is just gorgeous), and Ethan Hawke is very nice too look at too! ;) I also now want to visit Vienna, and would like to re-visit Paris - all because of this film! lol.
Anyway, make sure you watch both films, so that you can see how it all ends!! I'm definitely adding these films to my "best film" list now lol. Hope you enjoy watching as much as I have! Take care :)
on 16 July 2005
Flawless scripts and flawless acting, with a director who knows how valuable that is and gives it the hands-off treatment it deserves. The films are set pretty much in real-time (and that includes the break of 9 years or so between them) and the leads are playing characters with echoes of their own lives (Delpy into her music, Hawke as a writer). It makes for a pair of astoundingly 'real' films.
I feel inclined to recommend viewing solo, unburdened by cynicism.
on 11 February 2005
I am a film student. This means that when I go to watch movies, I like to keep my eye out for how exactly the director is doing what they're doing, and why they might've wanted to do it that way. I've got a head full of all sorts of pretensions, something which often spoils my enjoyment of more mediocre films.
However, the test of a truly fantastic movie, nothing less than a work of genius, is when you sit down in front of it and, for an hour and a half of your life, completely forget that you exist. The only moments in these films where I remembered that I was watching it, an external entity, were during moments of repeated shock at just how good it was. Most sentimental films leave me coming out of the cinema with the words "Well, it was alright, for sentimentality." Linklater's Sunrise couplet are nothing if not sentimental... As you can tell however, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this film.
Let's talk cinematography. The films are painted in the glowing yellow shades of Paris and Vienna: Linklater brings us into a world of eternal romance, of European architecture and gleaming blonde tresses. I mentioned above my somewhat cyical nature, but I did so by reason of illuminating just how skilled Linklater is, so as to make even me forget my pretensions. I might've dismissed his backdrops as an insincere romantic parody, and no fair setting for rather profound commentaries. Instead, I see it as adding a crucial element of visual beauty and timelessness to the films. The camera work does not distract us at all, or even make itself noteworthy, which works just right in films that're more than anything about people and emotions.
What really makes the films however are the performances of Hawke and Delpy, and the absurdly well written script. As I understand it, the lead actors, along with Linklater, wrote the script together. The three of them benefit from a longtime partnership, which has clearly allowed them to develop an excellent creative dynamic, resulting in a script which fits the actors perfectly. Entertaining, sincere, profound and romantic, the dialogue flows perfectly throughout the films' duration.
These are the kind of films which will leave you grinning madly, all your faith in humanity suddenly restored. Nobody can say they've lost their faith in love until they've seen these films. I would rate Before Sunrise as easily the best film of 2004.
on 14 November 2005
I dont quite know what to add from the reviews above but to say the these 2 movies are simple incredible. Especially in modern cinema. The sheer enjoyment and love that is taken from them masks the absolutely amazing way in which they were made....look closely and you will see seens continuing for minutes on end, dialogue flowing with wonderful acting, constant movements throught the streets of Paris and Vienna......the fact that you are unconscious of these marvellous achievements just goes to show how utterly taken in by the characters you are.
Never has a film felt so....realistic! ....and this comes down to mainly 2 things, the script and the acting. The script? ...you wouldnt think there was one, so natural is the flow of conversation and realistic traits that are on show...but this most surely comes down to the acting. I was unaware of Julie Delp before these movies, and she trully is wonderful in both. But Ethan Hawke is what really amazes me, especially in Before Sunset. There's something that is aching inside of him....inside of both of them, but once you see the movie you'll realise it from him....his acting is just incredible. Much has been made of the parallels in his life at the time of this film, and not to be selfish, but it looks like it helped. Throughout the whole film, the boyish Jesse is seen flashing through the whole time, but shot through with a pain and sadness that is never fully out of sight, none more so than in the Taxi ride. Anyone who has seen it will know, both of them are incredible and it just breaks your heart to believe in these characters so much and see them hit rock-bottom in their emotions.
....i cant remember feeling this way about films in a long time, definitly not contemporary movies....maybe Eternal sunshine and 5x2....but even them, they dont have the history that Jesse and Celine have.
...as someone at the age of 24, pretty much their age in the first movie, there's alot to be learnt from these....and the sensation of 'your eyes opening up' to the true possibilities of life while watching both of these movies is truly something to behold.
Ok, sorry for rambling.....but what can I say.....WATCH them. (ideally, watch Before Sunrise.....give Before Sunset a week or month or something....let it seep in, the watch Before Sunset...remember, for 9 years it looked like there would NEVER be a sequel to this, so its good to try and experience the first film on those terms...)
I think these two films together amount to something unprecedented on film: an in-depth exploration of romantic love that shows it to be the most exciting adventure life can offer. There is real magic in both films that goes far beyond anything that can be achieved with special effects. The human face and a brilliant script are the means used, yet they create a definitive statement. Furthermore the formal aspect is very interesting and adds to the sense that the films closely mirror life. The first takes place in what seems like real time but is in fact over twelve hours, maybe fifteen, then there is a gap of nine years in real and film time, and the same actors then take up again in a sequel that is very nearly shot in real time. What the second film gains in rigour and variety of tone it loses perhaps in sheer freshness and the absolute feeling of falling in love of the first. But then the second moves me just as much, even though the situation is more problematic. The link is amazingly clever, but this is one of the more minor pleasures of the whole venture. I always think how wonderful it is to hear the dialogues between these two intelligent young people in the first film; they are interesting in themselves, but also there is a kind of emotional barometer constantly trying to assess how the other is reacting, and of course not being sure - the very essence of romance! Nine years later certain character traits seem to have been more confirmed and they have both gained in confidence; in other words, the picture is very much how it is if you compare people at 23 with how they tend to be at 32. This comes across with great subtlety. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke give performances that seem totally natural, and of course even the physical changes they show are both real and part of the film (in fact they both look very good still). By the end of both films you feel that the heart has been laid totally bare, and you are moved and also exhilarated, it seems like such an affirmation of life. The films are both very specific to these characters and also speak to us all - a mark of their depth, I think. They remind me a bit of Murnau's Sunrise, another great love story (possibly a reference?) which he subtitled 'a song of two humans'.
on 4 March 2013
I watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset back to back over the weekend while I was ironing and thought they were magnificent. I thought the dialogue was wonderful, the settings were perfect, the moment in the first film when they go into the listening booth in the record shop, wow, I had a lump in my throat.
Julie Delpy was fantastic, exceptionally sexy, very believable, however Ethan Hawke I thought was the wrong guy for the role*. He looks like an actor rather than a student or an author, he looks as if should be playing a tough cop in a Noo Yawk action movie not swanking around Vienna quoting Auden or signing his latest bestseller in Paris, he just wasn't believable. His reaction in the second film when she sang him the song she'd written for him was completely wrong, clapping and whooping for her to play another... Listen Hawke, a bird has just sang and played a song she wrote about you, the correct reaction in that situation would be to sit there in stunned silence for a minute then get up and kiss her, once, on the lips, not to whoop and holler for her to play you another. You're not at a Pearl Jam concert.
*Yes of course it should've been me in that role, I'd have been perfect.
on 7 June 2009
Modern day classics in my opinion, quite possibly the best two movies I have seen. Maybe a little under-apreciated? These movies are in a completely different league than most other "romantic" movies, as they are much deeper and touch on the question of what is really important in life. Other than that the movies are just amazingly beautiful.