Before Sunset
review by Neo

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Year: 2004

Box Office: USD$5,792,822

Director: Richard Linklater

Producer: Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Genre: Romantic Drama

Tagline: A genuine attempt at recapturing missed opportunities…

Review by Neo: Perhaps it is almost truism to say that it is human nature to desire what we cannot have. It is part life that people will have to endure through situations where it will leave them with the feeling of what if and what could have been. While, people may say that what has passed has already passed and there is no point pondering or going back to asking what could have been. That is why Before Sunset is such a good movie as it is able to depict all these underlying and deep emotions that we have all kept within ourselves and soul.

Life is never easy, meeting the right people requires the right timing and the right place, it may well be the right timing for you, but for someone else, the timing may not be right. The person may be still letting go out their past or may be the couple could be separated by distance. I remember a girl asking me, why we didn’t meet earlier, at that moment, I just said that if we did, we might never be together. Thinking back, at this very moment, it makes you realised that while the timing was perfect for me personally, having just graduated, about to start a new job, and being able to let go of the past completely for the first time, but love is always a two way thing. Perhaps for the girl, we probably met 3 years too late.

9 years on after their fateful meeting in Before Sunrise, they meet again in a bookshop in Paris and what is so wonderful about this movie is definitely the realism and the underlying emotional core which coincides perfectly with the witty and thoughtful dialogue. Once again the Wong Kar Wai’s theme is evident here, love is all about timing, and it is no good meeting a person too early or too late. For the case of this couple, it is more of a case of everything being right, except for fate playing a game on their love. All these lead to further feeling of regret and the ever lingering emotion along the lines of unfinished businesses.

Like Before Sunrise, the unfulfilling sudden ending gives hope to the audience to engage in their own sort of thinking. Perhaps, they won’t be together, but at least their second meeting allowed them to give it a shot and finally a way to possibly put the regrets behind them. Then again, one needs to look no further than the current cinema running of Two Days in Paris for an answer.

Ethan Hawke is perfectly cast as the guy and Julie Dephy has this undeniable likable nature about her that makes her character so believable. Their chemistry together is just radiating off screen and on screen. There are moments in the car that allows Julie to expresses her acting chops and director Richard Linklater wisely engages some memorable flash back to evoke further emotions.

All in all, Before Sunset is by all means a good little movie that goes only a little longer than 1 hour. Not unlike the situation within the movie, perhaps Julie was right, maybe their relationship is only good for short term meetings. It is a pity that they weren’t together 9 years ago, but what made the movie better is the manner that Ethan realised that his love for her was not just single sided and knowing the fact that at the same time when he was lonely and thinking about that someone, the feelings are mutual. As we venture to the end of this review, it is now 2:17 pm, on the 25th of March 2008, a moment that will not come back again and with a brink of an eye it have already been exactly 3 months since that fateful meeting. We might meet again one day or perhaps not, but I guess no one really knows. Let’s finish off with a beautiful quote from Julie: “memory is a wonderful thing, if we do not have to deal with the past…” A quote that rings so true and real… (Neo 2008)

I rate it 8.5/10

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Copyright 2004-2008 - HK Neo Reviews at founded by Andrew Chan (Neo) (Sydney, Australia)