Before Sunset (15)

Directed by Richard Linklater
Showing at FACT in August (Dates TBC)

Reviewed by Paul Hunt

Before Sunset is the follow up to Before Sunrise in which Jesse (Ethan Hawke) met Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train travelling across Europe, where they had a whirlwind romance in the city of Vienna which only lasted a few hours but established a deep bond between them. When saying their goodbyes at the railway station they made a promise to meet up in Vienna in six months time.

Now we have moved on nine years and Jesse is a writer on a tour of Europe to promote his new book which is based on his unforgettable time in Vienna and has put him in the lower reaches of the bestseller lists. During a book signing in Paris he looks up to see Celine watching him, however as his plane home leaves that evening they only have a couple of hours to spend together. It transpires that she never made it back to Vienna that time due to her grandmother being unwell, leaving Jesse, who did make it, to wonder what might have happened.

Shot virtually in realtime the film literally consists of them walking through some of the more picturesque streets of Paris with the odd coffee thrown in, and talking about their lives, about politics, about relationships, and about the time they first met. When sitting in a cafe it almost felt like I was with them due to there being no cuts or editing and the intimacy of their conversation, the characters becoming more likeable as they revealed insecurities and lost hopes. Strictly for soppy old romantics.