Nine years ago a little miracle happened. An American boy and a French girl met up on a train in Vienna and spent a wonderful day together talking about everything under the sun, slowly falling in love and eventually making love together in a park just before sunrise. They parted with youthful zeal, fully expecting serendipity to work its magic and allow them to meet once again, six months later, at a pre-determined time and place.
The miracle was a movie: Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. We were left to speculate what would happen in six months. Would the lovers forget about each other? Would they meet new people in the meantime? Some part of me didn't actually want to know; I would rather simply imagine some blissful romantic heaven.
Linklater re-visited his lovers briefly, in animated form, for a segment of Waking Life, but that was just the impetus for this next step.
Now that reality has set in -- in the form of Richard Linklater's sequel Before Sunset -- it turns out to be just as blissful as anything I could have imagined.
Jesse (Hawke) has written a book about his previous romantic encounter and is now back in Paris for a publicity tour, signing autographs at the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore. Since the lovers never exchanged last names, Celine discovers Jesse's presence via a photo and turns up at the signing. Jesse only has about an hour before he must catch a plane, and so the pair heads to a cafe for a quick catch-up.
Unlike the first film, which scrunched its 24-hour time frame into a two-hour movie, the 80-minute Before Sunset happens more or less in real time. This time their talk has more urgency. The immortal vitality...