Nine years after Jesse and Celine met in Vienna comes Before Sunset. Richard Linklater’s second film in the very-soon-to-be-completed love trilogy.
If the first film was innocence this film is disillusionment. Jesse and Celine find each other in Paris mutually living unsatisfying lives and looking back at the one magical night in their lives when they last crossed paths.
The production of this film took place genuinely nine years after the previous film. This was a risky decision on Linklater’s part, placing the films half a generation apart from each other means that many people who have seen the first film will have forgotten it by the time the next appears. This decision is however, entirely worth it. Before Sunset continues the almost documentary style of it’s predecessor by removing the suspension of disbelief. These people are really older, those laughter lines aren’t make up and the sad twinge in their voices is the genuine regret of growing older.
However this is not to say that the romance has died. Quite the contrary, this film shows us how much more precious love is in a time when hope is lacking. The script fills in some of the blanks from the previous film and gives the characters more depth and personality. As such I feel as if Before Sunset gives meaning to Before Sunrise. The previous film, in isolation is sweet and uplifting but gives us no more to think on. Combined with Before Sunset it is the beginning of a far more powerful connection. A connection that can only be hoped for, not confirmed as the credits roll in Before Sunrise.
Roll on Before Midnight.