Then, too, there's that movie with the ambiguous ending, the one you wish you could go back to and see what happened to the lead characters, did they meet up again? Did they live happily ever after?
Finally a movie dares to explore these questions. Before Sunset picks up right where Before Sunrise left off: precisely nine years later in Paris. Ethan Hawkes' Jesse is now an author (with a gold ring on his left third finger), in Paris as the last stop on a 10-city, 12-day European tour to promote his book (which is basically the first movie)...and all of a sudden, there is Julie Delpy's Celine.
This opening scene is actually my only argument with this film. The conceit that is usually the "previouslies" on television here is Jesse's novel. It's basically a ten-minute discussion of the earlier movie, disguised as questions about his book. Which is fine. Actually, it's rather clever. But they show flashback clips from the first movie while Jesse is talking. Since the rest of the movie is so very "real" (shot in real time, no real cutaways, just following two people and recording their conversation), this bit of surreality is rather distractingly annoying. And unnecessary. Most people will have seen the first one, and if they haven't, well...they can imagine it for themselves, just as the interviewers are.
Jesse recognises Celine instantly, and soon the pair fall into the same rhythm and patterns they fell so naturally into in 1995. They tease, they flirt, they argue, they find irony...did they go back to Vienna six months later? Are they happy now? They have a lot to talk about.
And that's pretty much all this movie, like its predecessor is: talking. Brilliant, real dialogue for almost an hour and a half. This time, Hawkes and Delpy worked with writer/director/twisted genius Richard Linklater on the script. Clearly, these two people are favourite characters of Linklater's; they even made an appearance in his Waking Life. And as such, they've almost become real. They seem so natural. Their conversation ebbs and flows as the movie progresses in real time. It's like eavesdropping on a lively conversation between two old friends. They discuss the sorts of things we all do. They say things we all say; hell, I think I've actually said and felt about half the things Celine talks about! And the ending? What happens to Celine and Jesse?
Well. Maybe we'll find out in 2013.
(One very cool thing, though: Movie reps were there getting the audience to fill out opinion cards! I've never gotten to do one of these! I have always wanted to be one of those people.)