This is hopefully to become an either weekly or monthly feature on a past film and why a particular scene works to illustrate the general feeling of the entire picture or in some cases how it fails. I would love to hear your insights and thoughts on this idea. And maybe even a few suggestions as to other movies that could be showcased in this format. I hope you enjoy.
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply
Released: 2nd of July 2004
Runtime: 77 minutes
Rating: R for language and sexual references.
What we have here is a simple picture about two people set against a lovely French backdrop. Before Sunset picks up exactly nine years after the events of Before Sunrise, in which both characters meet and fall in love, and we are introduced to two people who have a had a rotten love life. In the beginning the relive past memories and discuss about their current relationships, but never letting on that each is miserable. The film’s greatest asset is that it doesn’t use anything besides conversation to move the story along. All we see are two people with natural chemistry taking a strole through the streets of Paris and that’s enough. The magic behind the movie is that the characters seem real and attainable something that has been missing from this genre of film for quite a long time. By the end of the film I want Celine (Deply) for myself because I have become so drawn to her character. This is a modern rarity, a film which actually brings the viewer into it and forces them to care for these flawed characters. Before Sunset is a massive achievement because its proof that a witty, intelligent, adult romantic comedy does exist.
Setting up the scene:
We are nearing the final act of the film and the two characters are preparing to part ways again. Up to this point, we have learned that Jessie (Hawke) is still in love with Celine and that the two of them are simply pretending to be happy in their current situations. As the film has unfolded we have be granted the rights to see into both of these characters who because of an unexpected death missed the chance to see what could have been. FYI: At the end of Before Sunrise the two promise to meet up again in six months but we discover that never happened because Celine’s grandmother passed away shortly before.
The Scene (this post may contain images and language that is not suitable for all ages):
The scene I have selected is the limousine ride back after their trip through the streets of Paris. In this scene every emotions is crystallized due to a explosive performance from Deply. The characters finally expose the truth of how each has been doing since their failed reunion. Celine has an emotional outburst about her inability to love and her past relationships. She speaks candidly about how this has made feel cold or numb to the world and as if all his romanticism was lost on that night they shared nine years ago. Then Jessie tells her how unhappy he is in his marriage. The scene is sensational because it is easy to see them as real people with real problems that we all experience at some point in life. Before Sunset succeeds because of this scene and the filmmakers uncanny ability to make this characters believable. The sincerity we see in these nearly 80-minutes are unmatched by the standard rom-com fares in which gimmicks such as house swapping, hookers who find millionaires or pretending to be engaged with someone to get someone else is the norm. I only wish more films were made as honest as this one.
Here it is Enjoy!
**Here is an added bonus because I love the song and her voice:**