This has been a struggle for many years. I loved Before Sunset upon its release in 2004, but it wasn’t even in the top 3 for me that year. But remember — I was 20.
I’ve been saying for the last year or so that “someday Before Sunset will be my favorite movie of all time.” Today is that day.
I’m screaming it from the rooftops, ladies and gents. And most of you probably have no idea what the hell it is. And that’s part of the reason for my hesitation.
Before Sunset is a sequel to a film called Before Sunrise. The first film deals with these two 20-somethings who meet on a train, get off in Vienna, spend 14 hours walking around and falling in love until (spoilers, kind of) he has to go home. And that’s how the movie ends.
Nine years later, it’s 9 years later. Jesse, the American, has written a book and he’s on tour in Paris. It’s his last stop. Celine, the girl he met almost a decade earlier and the subject of the book, is in the bookshop.
That’s the movie. The film is 80 minutes long, and is just the two of them walking throughout Paris before his flight talking. They’re in their 30s now, and life is much different. Remember what I said about not going to the movies as much any more? I feel so connected to these characters. They are my favorite, simply because they’re regular people. Sure, Jesse has a book out but it’s a “minor” best-seller.
I could watch this movie every day. People say that about a lot of movies, and I usually call bullshit on it. However, in this instance, I believe myself.
I want to melt with these people. And the ending — the ending is one of the most sublime movie endings of all time. 80 minutes is far too quick.
In January, director Richard Linklater and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke will debut the third film — Before Midnight. I’m of course going to see it, and it may be amazing. They know the esteem with which this film is held, and I’m fairly sure they won’t fuck it up. However, I really don’t want that movie to exist. Jesse and Celine’s story is over in my eyes after the end of Before Sunset. To give finality and actuality to what happens, yes, another 9 years later, kind of takes the piss out of the whole thing.
But that’s it. My number one. I can’t believe I’ve said it. I think I know what I’m watching tonight.