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Francesca: ‘Robert, please. You don't understand, no-one does. When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave they take your life of details with them. And then you're expected move again only you don't remember what moves you because no-one has asked in so long. Not even yourself. You never in your life think that love like this can happen to you’Robert Kincaid: ‘But now that you have it... ‘Francesca: ‘I want to keep it forever. I want to love you the way I do now the rest of my life. Don't you understand... we'll lose it if we leave. I can't make an entire life disappear to start a new one. All I can do is try to hold onto to both. Help me. Help me not lose loving you’
Imagine you are meeting someone after a very long time – say nine years. You didn’t have any kind of details about the other person in these nine years, and you absolutely have no idea about the whereabouts. Suddenly, while you are casually looking at some point, if that person stands there looking and smiling at you, what will your reaction be? Especially if that person is of the opposite gender?
Before Sunset is a beautiful portrayal of emotions. It is the sequel of ‘After Sunset’ which was released in 1995. In the movie, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) has grown to be an acclaimed writer, and he writes a book about the girl he met nine years ago at Vienna. While talking at a book store in Paris which is incidentally the last leg of his promotional tour, he suddenly looks at Celine (Julie Delphy), the girl whom he met nine years ago for a few hours. He quickly finishes his talk, and even though he has very little time left to catch his flight, he goes to Celine and asks her to have a coffee with him.
Celine accepts and they both start to walk towards Celine’s favorite coffee shop, a few blocks away. They have very little time left before they separate again. They start talking about their plan to meet at Vienna after six months when they first met, and how Celine missed the meeting as her Grand ma passed away. She asks Jesse was he present at Vienna and was he disappointed since Celine didn’t turn up, and Jesse tells he too missed the meeting. As Celine asks Jesse to give a valid reason for his absence, she discovers that Jesse indeed was present at Vienna to meet Celine. This makes her sad, and Jesse convinces her that there is nothing to be done, as that was the way things went.
Slowly, their conversation turns personal, and Celine discovers that Jesse is married and has a kid. Celine too has a boyfriend who is a photojournalist. They talk about various topics – about Celine mostly and their interests. Gradually, Celine starts talking what’s hidden in her heart. She tells Jesse that since they separated after their first meeting, she is unable to be united with any male. She tells that every time she is with a male, she feels lonely inside, and only when she is lonely without anyone by her side, she feels comfortable. That’s the reason her boyfriend is a photojournalist, traveling across countries most times.
She expresses her anguish about not being with Jesse. They both know in their minds that after their first meeting, they have never been happier in their lives. In some way, every incident happened in their lives for the past nine years reminded them of each other.
Celine becomes emotional while they travel to her apartment in a hired car. She starts to cry, having had all her memories about their first meeting and the irony of life that they were never together after the first meet. Jesse gently tries to stroke her head, and pulls back. Jesse tells Celine about his married life, and how sour it is. Just for the sake of his son, he tells Celine, that they both are living together, and there is nothing similar between them both, and every day it’s like hell.
They both realize that they have created a vacuum in their minds since they first met, and only they can fill the vacuum in each other’s hearts. But, it’s impossible to get united after these years, as they both have their own lives to pursue. They both know about this bitter truth, but even then, they want to be with each other till the last possible second.
Jesse comes to Celine’s apartment, and asks Celine to sing a song, as she had earlier told Jesse about her Guitar classes. Celine starts to sing a wonderful song about their first meeting nine years ago.
‘Let me sing you a waltz
Out of nowhere, out of my thoughts
Let me sing you a waltz
About this one night stand
You were for me that night
Everything I always dreamt of in life
But now you're gone
You are far gone
All the way to your island of rain
It was for you just a one night thing
But you were much more to me
Just so you know
I hear rumors about you
About all the bad things you do
But when we were together alone
You didn't seem like a player at all
I don't care what they say
I know what you meant for me that day
I just wanted another try
I just wanted another night
Even if it doesn't seem quite right
You meant for me much more
Than anyone I've met before
One single night with you little Jesse
Is worth a thousand with anybody
I have no bitterness, my sweet
I'll never forget this one night thing
Even tomorrow, another arms
My heart will stay yours until I die
Let me sing you a waltz
Out of nowhere, out of my blues
Let me sing you a waltz
About this lovely one night'
Here is the Youtube link of the wonderful song written by Julie Delphy herself.
Once she finishes the song, Jesse plays the songs of Nina Simone in the CD player. Celine starts to dance for the songs, imitating Nina Simone.
She tells unhurriedly to Jesse ‘Baby.. You are gonna miss the plane…’
Jesse replies, “I know”…..
The movie ends with this shot.
Before Sunset is a fantastic film which rekindles the memories hidden inside the deepest trenches of our mind. The movie is directed by Richard Linklater, just like its prequel ‘After Sunset’, which is about their first meeting nine years ago. The movie is weaved with emotions, between two people who want to be united but can never be.
The movie’s screenplay was developed by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy themselves, along with the director Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan. The dialogues were not written in paper, and they were candid. They add to the emotion of the film.
It is to be noted that Ethan Hawke's character Jesse is in a failing marriage with a woman he married because she had become pregnant. Soon after the film's release, Hawke divorced his real-life wife Uma Thurman, whom he had married while she was pregnant with their first child (thanks IMDB for this trivia).
Overall, Before Sunset is a great tale about emotions and lost opportunities and many more. I don’t have the appropriate words to pen down the effect it created in my heart. One of my personal favorites, Before Sunset will remain to be one of Hollywood’s memorable sagas of Love.