Did Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delphy) meet up six months later as they promised or didn’t they? That’s what the audience is left wondering at the end of 1995’s Before Sunrise. Apparently not. As 2004’s Before Sunset picks up in Paris, the couple are catching up on each other’s lives and everything that has happened in those last nine years.
2004 finds Jesse, now a best-selling author, in Paris on a book tour for his novel that sounds suspiciously like the story of his meeting Céline in Before Sunrise. His muse hears about his appearance and attends. The two then wander the streets of Paris, stop in a cafe and take a cruise down the Seine in typical scenically beautiful Before style while they catch up while remaining somewhat vague and impersonal.
What seems odd about Before Sunset is that it takes half the movie before either Jesse or Céline divulge their current relationship status, all the while they flirt outrageously with each other. Really? It’s hard to swallow. Meanwhile the film’s final moments are slow and drawn out albeit obvious and expected.
Before Sunset is a worthy follow on sequel to Before Sunrise. The film captures the same magic that it had in the first film. It will satisfy fans of the series as well as those who had been rooting for Jesse and Céline.