These two films go so perfectly together I categorize it as one phenomenal piece of work. Richard Linklater, who writes and directs, based the first film off an actual real life experience of his own. The setting is a chance encounter between to people that ends up being life changing. Two people meet, fall in love, and only have one night together before they must part. The second movie is them meeting again, a full nine years later. These films are superbly acted by the two young leads, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, but what makes these movies so good is the script. It has some of the most genuinely written conversations ever in film history. If only people in real life were this straight forward and honest with each other. Each movie is rather short, the first is about 100 minutes and the second only 80 minutes, and this makes the two combined about the length of a longer movie. “Before Sunset” is very unique because it is done in real time. There are none of these sequences in which five minutes is actually an hour and a half rather each second you watch is a second in real time. These two lovers run into each other after not seeing each other for nine years and they have only about one hour together before they have to separate. This adds an anticipation to the movie that otherwise would not have been there and makes it more to the point. The other thing great about “Before Sunset” is that the film was actually made nine years after the first with the same actors and director. The actors have changed just like their characters and they pick up right where they left off. It is done perfectly. There is a sense of hope that you are left with after each installment that helps confirm the idea that sometimes, if you are lucky, it could actually work out. If you cannot tell from what I have already written I will make myself clear that “Before Sunset” is the better of the two movies. You could watch “Before Sunset” without ever seeing the first film and it would all make sense and you would not be confused however, “Before Sunrise” establishes the relationship between these two characters and is also an incredibly written and acted film. If you do not see the first film the second will not be nearly as potent and moving. You need both films to really be completely swept away by the story. These films have become a huge influence on the romance genre since their release. You can see it in many films nowadays in how they try and repeat what was once so perfectly and beautifully executed here. Nothing ever quite measures up. If you are a romance fan you cannot miss these movies, if you are even a movie fan you should not miss these either. This is a great example of how a well written screenplay can carry a film to greatness.
5 out of 5 Stars