Customer Review

210 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime. Nearly perfect., August 7, 2004
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DVD extras: Not much, just the theatrical trailer and a 10-minute segment called "on the set of Before Sunset", which intersperses bits of interviews between the two actors and the director. I think most people would find it mildly interesting but definitely not essential.

The film itself: "Before Sunset" is the sequel to "Before Sunrise," a wonderful little film from 1995. You don't have to see that film first, but I'd recommend doing so anyway, because it's very good, and because it increases the emotional impact of "Before Sunset".

If you have seen "Before Sunrise" and liked it, you will almost certainly like "Before Sunset." If you found it boring or otherwise unappealing, then skip "Sunset." The two films share a lot in common: an overwhelming focus on the two main characters, lots of good dialog, and a very sweet love story.

There are a few differences:

The acting is better in "Before Sunset." The Jesse character (Ethan Hawke) is more likeable in "Before Sunset" (some people found him slightly annoying in the prequel). In the sequel, there seems to be more tension: they only have 80 minutes rather than a whole night to figure out if they should be together. There's also more at stake: it's so rare in life to find someone with whom you truly connect, and if you let them go, it's even more rare to get a second chance with them later.

Many people who really liked the prequel said that seeing the sequel gave them the sensation of visiting old friends. I felt this too.

I *URGE* you to be very careful about reading other user reviews. Most reviews I've seen give too many hints about the ending.

Those of you who have already seen this film may be interested in discussing the ending. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET, STOP READING NOW!


Most people have an opinion about the ending of "Before Sunset." Some love it, some hate it, but most are frustrated by the ambiguity, at least initially. Do they stay together? Or does each of them return to their committed relationship?

We can't be certain what happens, but the writers (Linklater and the two lead actors) have given us some very strong clues.

In the final scene, the song playing on Celine's stereo is called "Just in Time," performed by Nina Simone. Simone is famous for singing very moving, haunting, sad songs. But "Just in Time" is quite happy: "Just in time/I found you just in time/before you came, my time was running low/I was lost/the losing dice were tossed/my bridges all crossed/nowhere to go/Now you're here and now I know just where I'm going/no more doubt or fear/I've found my way/For love came just in time/you found me just in time/and changed my lonely life."

Why do you think the writers picked that song? What do you think it tells us?

(It also might be interesting that Nina Simone was an American living in France. Jesse is American, will he move to France?)

In that final scene, Celine is dancing and playfully singing along with Nina Simone, while Jesse is smiling and enjoying her performance. The last thing Celine says to Jesse is "Baby, you're going to miss that plane," and the last thing he says to her is "that's right" (or something to that effect). Does this sound like how two people who love each other would act if one of them was about to fly away and they were never going to see each other again?

Maybe the ending is not so ambiguous, after all.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 25, 2011 3:08:11 PM PDT
mark gibson says:
In addition to appreciating the review itself I Very Much appreciated the spoiler alert and the warning about the unannounced spoilers in other reviews.

Posted on Jun 12, 2011 9:05:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2011 9:07:24 PM PDT
Open Eyes says:
Both movies are my favorite romance movies of all time! I have viewed both maybe about 4 or 5 times each. Their conversations seem to bother some viewers. They don't like movies that talk a lot, as most of them put it. Good for them. They can watch all the special effects flicks devoid of plot they wish. I won't! There is that precious thing in the movie that two people seldom find. A very real connection. A rare and beautiful thing. The talking, as some put it, is how they join and merge AND love!

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 1:56:34 AM PDT
Thank you for a very nice and informing review. I would only add that the movie is one of a kind, far from modern kids stuff that cinema has become. I also loved the picture and found the ending perfect.

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 2:44:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2014 3:38:11 PM PDT
RLB says:

The song is playing on the stereo because Jesse -- the character in the movie -- picked it out. It's not supposed to be an accident or a secret message from the writers. Also, even though I agree that there's no doubt he's going to miss the plane, that's not the ambiguous part about the ending; it's how far the relationship will go after that.

Clearly the protagonists share a connection and an attraction, but they're also obviously unhappy in their present situations. They tell themselves that it's because they were fated to be with someone they spent a single night with a decade ago -- gimme a break! They barely knew each other. They'd lived real lives and had real underlying problems that wouldn't go away when they got together. The great thing about the movie is that they're both aware of this to some degree and spend quite a lot of time talking about it directly or indirectly before convincing themselves to go for it. The other great thing about the movie is the race against the clock to really open up to each other, which is fantastic as a plot device.

The ambiguity is -- did they live happily ever after? Or did Jesse throw away his marriage and his relationship with his son for a couple weeks with a girl he ends up not liking after all (the original ending of his book)? The consequences are what the third movie is about (and it's also great!).
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Location: Kenosha, WI

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