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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!
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VINE VOICEon 2 May 2006
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.
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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.
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on 20 February 2001
The first time I saw this was by accident. I stumbled across it and it held my glance-a good sign. In this film by Richard Linklater, an American played by Ethan Hawke and a Frenchwoman played by Julie Delpy meet on a train, thrown together by an arguing couple. Both are on different journeys but together they begin to discuss every topic under the sun and are faced with spending 24 hours in Vienna waiting for different connections. The two strangers walk around the city through the day and overnight visiting landmarks and bars and walking along the Danube. It plays as good as a tourist video as a movie. Slowly but quickly!- the pair fall in love and are then faced with the awful prospect of parting ways the next morning. The conversations are breathtaking, and the city looks enviable. This makes you want to visit Vienna like Breakfast at Tiffanys made you want to go to New York! Who can think of anything better than meeting a stranger, having a swift affair and falling in love in a beautiful city! The citys natural beauty is used superbly by the director and the leading stars have the chemistry required to pull off the romance and the intelligence to pull off the conversations. It fills you with joy, pulls at your heart, inspires you to travel and leaves you with a warmth that maybe at anytime, something great could happen to YOU! If you're a traveller, a romantic, a philosopher, a culture vulture or just somewhere in between, let this hold your glance and maybe it will change your life!
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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.
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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.
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on 28 June 2005
Lovely innocent film about travelling with an open mind. Ah, makes you wistful for the days when you didn't automatically assume a guy flirting with you on a train was a psychopath. Only four stars because I'm too cynical and wish I could have seen the film ten years ago on the night before I went off travelling. I watched Thelma and Louise with my travelling buddy instead. Explains a lot, come to think...
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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...)
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on 8 July 2011
"You have to be in the right mood for this film," are the dreaded words I find myself telling my wife as I stick the DVD in the machine. I myself was so obviously in the right mood for it when it came out that it made it into my top 10 movies of all time list (in my head), primarily because I wanted to be Ethan Hawke and fancied Julie Delpy (this fancy has now passed though thanks to her 2 Days in Paris movie). Unfortunately my wife was not as enthralled by it as I was, leaving me to deduce that this is ultimately a 'marmite' film; you either love it or hate it.

The plot is simple; boy meets girl on train, boy gets girls to leave train with him, boy and girl talk all night, boy and girl fall in love.

The wonderful part is the third character; Vienna. Linklater seduces it like Woody Allen does New York in Annie Hall. I like seeing a city being romanced and this is definitely the case here.

The second most wonderful part of this film is the language and the necessary steps of courtship the 2 of them go through in order to lower their respective guards enough to allow the other person to see the real them. Ethan starts off relatively pretentiously; a stereotypical cocky young American. Delphy is similarly aloof in a typical Gallic manner, but then they are a little spontaneous and take a small chance on each other and the film takes off on its lovely smooth ride.

I recommend this as a late-night movie when you are totally relaxed and are not expecting much from it beyond a couple verbally jousting, seducing then eventually loving each other. Even though one of them is a bit of a Rooster-Prick.
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on 23 October 2006
The first time I saw Before Sunrise I enjoyed it immensely! The second time I saw this movie I loved it! The third time I saw this movie I adored it!

The chemistry and acting in this movie from Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke is so realistic and undeniably believable. The basic simple plot leaves many to believe it is a pointless film, these people are wrong. If anything, this movie proves that special effects, hollywood stars and whitty lines are not needed to make a movie memorable!

Before Sunset, I have to admit the first time I saw this I disliked it immensely and I tried to wipe it from my memory so it would not ruin Before Sunrise which has become my favourite movie of all time, however a couple of months ago I dared to watch it again and to my enjoyment. This time I saw the inspirational work of Richard Linklater come out once more as I grew to love the sequel.

If you want a nice peaceful night in I would choose these movies over any!
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