Part 2: RLA Reviews: “Before Sunset”

30 Apr


When we last left Celine and Jesse at the end of “Before Sunrise,” they were having a passionate goodbye at the train station with a promise to meet up in six months. “Before Sunset” picks up nine years later* as Jesse, with new wrinkles on his face, is doing a book reading in Paris. As he’s finishing up answering questions about whether his novel about an American who falls in love with a French woman over the course of one magical night is true, the French woman (whom we know it’s about) waltzes into the book shop. Jesse’s rattled by seeing her, but can’t wait to talk to her. His book tour handlers tell him he has some time until he has to go to the airport and off Jesse and Celine go again.

*I was very, very saddened by this. I thought for sure the couple would meet at the train station in 6 months. Little did I know…


There’s two things that feel like they need to be addressed immediately. First, did either of them show up? Second, he’s wearing a wedding ring? They get to the first one right away. He showed. She didn’t*. Her beloved grandmother’s funeral was that day. He understands. The wedding ring part takes far longer to be addressed. As Caitlin and I sipped our dessert wine in bed, it was killing me how long it took either of them to bring it up**. Finally she mentioned that she’d read he was married with two kids. Yep. Even though he’d clearly grown as a person in the nine years, this fact made it hard for us to root for them to spark their love affair again. But on they went, going to another cafe, sharing a cigarette, taking a short boat ride, always in constant motion, as Paris became another character in the film.

*I called this immediately. Jesse pretends that he didn’t show at first, but I saw through him. Of course he did.

**I actually noticed in the very beginning when Jesse is talking about his “book character” and mentions that he has a gorgeous wife and amazing kid and still isn’t happy.

Even though Jesse is far more likable in round two, Celine is in a class of her own, and still constantly found ways to remind me of Caitlin*. They’re back at her home (surprise, surprise) and he insists she play him a song. She offers him three vague selections and he picks the one described as “a waltz.” He may have written a best-selling book about her, but I bet her waltz dedicated to him is far more touching. Caitlin is coy with her guitar playing/singing as well, but is so talented and puts so much heart behind her playing. I wish it was easier to get her to play and hope that she writes me a song like this one day**. But I digress. So there they are in her place and he’s in danger of missing his flight. She tells him so. He laughs and says “I know.” She dances. Until next time. “Before Midnight” comes out May 24th. Expect a review soon after.

*This is too sweet — Celine really is an amazing and deeply lovable character. I hope I can be just a tenth as great as she is.



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