Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and now...Before Twilight?


Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke announced here that they're working on another sequel to Before Sunrise. So let me offer a tentative "hooray?" (Interrobang).

Before Sunrise has been on my mind lately, not least because I was in Vienna a couple of weeks ago. I've also found myself trying to convince people, yet again, how much better the sequel Before Sunset is (in a nutshell, it's a life stage thing. Ethan Hawke's youthful characters are perfect for a 17 year old, but slowly became pretentious and irritating).


Who we meet in Before Sunset are the logical conclusions of both Céline and Jesse. Céline's found her youthful idealism turned to dark cynicism, while Jesse has become much more at ease with the rhythms of the universe. So now our stars seem to be asking what they would look like after another ten years, as they enter their twilight years.

Is this a question that we really want answered?

Part of the genius of Before Sunset was that its concept was in-built into the first movie, not just in premise, but in execution. Remember these bits from Before Sunrise:

Alright, alright, think of it like this: jump ahead ten, twenty years, okay? And you're married. Only your marriage doesn't have that same energy that it used to have, you know? You start to blame your husband. You start to think of all those guys you met in your life and what might have happened if you'd picked up with one of them, right? Well I'm one of those guys, that's me! So think of this as time travel.

And this:

I had this idea, okay? For a television these 24-hour documents of real time, right, capturing life as it's lived.

Bang! And thus Before Sunset was in real-time, just a 2 hour conversation really (and what a wonderful conversation it was).

That movie left us with a moment of beautiful ambiguity; we have no idea what happens to them, and finding out could never be satisfying.

So while I'm not against a third movie in principle, I'm very concerned about where the story could go (especially since the brief Jesse/Celine scene in Waking Life was incredibly dumb and annoying).

What do you think?

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4 Responses to “ Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and now...Before Twilight? ”

  1. YES! i, too, have found myself trying to convince people that Sunset is the better movie. i think one of the great things about it is how it makes the pretentious-and-irritating-ness of Jesse & Celine in Sunrise make perfect sense (& forces us to acknowledge their status at that point as naifs - & so also maybe our own, if we ever identified with them); Sunset provides us with the rare phenomenon of a sequel that makes the original better than it ought to be.

  2. I'll tell you what, I DO remember identifying with them when I was younger, especially Jesse and his existential crises. But when I was rewatching it, I was disgusted at his freshman year common room philosophy. But a movie's a static object, they haven't changed. Only we have.
    I love that aspect of it so much, that I'm very welcoming of a sequel.

  3. I have always assumed that there would be another movie coming, if for no other reason than all three principles (Hawke, Delpy, Linklater) are all interested in revisiting characters in later parts of life.  Linklater and Hawke have been filming a movie since 2002 that shows a boy growing up from 6 to 18.  It's due to be released in 2015.  And I believe it was Delpy who actually got the ball rolling on Before Sunset and convinced the others that a second movie could work.

    The thing that struck me the most, watching the movies back to back, was the physical change in Hawke.  He is so thin in the sequel compared to the original that he actually looks ill.

  4. It's true! Hawke aged very suddenly, and very badly.

    Didn't Delpy write the script for Before Sunset?


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