Almost a decade after Before Sunrise and Richard Linklater, along with his leading actors, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, return for an equally mesmerising repeat performance in this mature and heartfelt romantic drama. For those who haven't happened across Before Sunrise, Hawke played Jesse, an American student travelling through Europe who met Celine (Delpy) on a train bound for Vienna. After spending the night talking and falling in love, they parted the following morning, promising to meet again in six months time, a pact which neither kept. Set nine years later, Before Sunset sees Jesse travelling to Paris for a book reading. Now a successful author, he's living in New York and married with a wife and young son. Celine, working as an environmentalist, turns up at the signing and the pair spend another evening together, discussing their lives and how things often don't turn out the way you expect them to.
Entirely driven by dialogue and set in real time, Before Sunset may not appear to be the most exciting proposition in the world, but there's a unique honesty and emotional maturity here. Linklater and his co-writers, Hawke and Delpy, give their characters a tangible sense of loss and faded ambition. But fear not, for in each other, the pair discover something of what made both of them so idealistic in the first place, giving Before Sunset a poignancy, grace and maturity which few films of this nature can boast.