Before Sunset 2004

Critics score:
95 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: For all its modesty, lingers in the mind like an unresolved relationship or a life-altering, if random, moment. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: This is a wonderful movie. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: A film of luminous delights. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The reunion has some lively moments, but a great deal of slow walking and fatuous talking about love, married life and sex. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: As drama, it doesn't hold up, and the screenplay's so loosely structured it almost seems improvised, but the affection that Linklater has for Jesse and Celine is so palpable that the movie coasts by on charm. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: It has earthy (and therefore sexy) urban locations, a splendid originality of voice, a loose and distinctive visual style, and it sends audiences out humming with the realness and beauty of it all. ... But it should have been twice as long. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: [R]eally top notch work here. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The chemistry between Jesse and Celine --- and Hawke and Delpy and, for that matter, Linklater --- is as immediate as it is appealing. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Shooting in long takes, Linklater and his actors (who get co-screenwriting credit) allow the conversation to curlicue effortlessly from literate banter to matters of the heart, and sometimes to places in between. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: It's a movie to cheer lovers and movie lovers alike -- an enchanting midsummer cocktail for two, served at dusk on the banks of the Seine. Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times: A film that in its joy, optimism and aesthetic achievement keeps faith with American cinema at its finest. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Having seen Before Sunset twice, and Before Sunrise again in between, I can't say which film is better. Both seem to fulfill an ambition Jean-Luc Godard expressed in the 60s -- to achieve 'the definitive by chance.' Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: Hawke and Delpy are credited with writing some of the dialogue, presumably as improvisations. They manage to be both natural and intense, and their characters feel real, even if the situation does not. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: How often does a visual medium make such an elegant argument about the beauty of language, even as it asserts its right to tell a story and move us with its vision? Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: A deeper, darker, altogether more memorable experience. It doesn't extend the characters so much as fulfill them. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: A fictional romance with a factual feel, a near-documentary quality that makes it difficult to distinguish the actor from the role. Read more

Jane Sumner, Dallas Morning News: If you didn't like Before Sunrise, filmmaker Richard Linklater says, you'll hate Before Sunset. But if you treasured the original, you're sure to prize the 'romance for realists' sequel. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: It's a lovely, beguiling little film a rare treat during this overheated season of blockbusters. It's also an unusual example of a follow-up that doesn't seem forced, but expands effortlessly on the original. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: What ultimately makes Before Sunset so special (and maybe the most resonant, least self-conscious 'great movie romance' of its era) is its deep-rooted honesty -- the way it takes the bitter with the sweet and somehow leaves us feeling elated. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: Hawke's ruefulness seems more than earned here (and, thus, genuine); Delpy's callow winsomeness has ripened to a ruddy sheen. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: A small masterpiece. Read more

Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger: The film ultimately depicts thirtysomething melancholy just as effectively as its predecessor portrayed Gen-X romanticism. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: The naturalistic dialogue is a masterful bit of writing. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Though it is sometimes maddening, the movie's prodigious verbiage is also enthralling, precisely because of its casual disregard for the usual imperatives of screenwriting. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: Mr. Linklater and his two creative leads have managed a miraculous transformation of the characters from once-callow lovers into grown-ups teetering on the edge of eternity. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: A richer experience than the original. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Forget Spider-Man's tussle with Doc Ock. Forget Shrek's trek to Far Far Away. And forget Harry Potter's latest attempt to endure the snipes of Snape. For me, the sequel to see during the summer of 2004 is Richard Linklater's Before Sunset. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Before Sunset is better, perhaps because the characters are older and wiser, perhaps because they have more to lose (or win), and perhaps because Hawke and Delpy wrote the dialogue themselves. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Before Sunrise captures the exhilaration of connecting with another person; Before Sunset moves forward from there, burrowing into territory that's more complex and dangerous, but also perhaps more vital. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: The bad news is that Before Sunset is not as delirious an experience as its predecessor. The good news is that it's wonderful anyway, and in ways that tell us something about our romance with Before Sunrise. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: Allows you to watch two deeply engaged and engaging performers moving verbally through delicately negotiated layers of delight, apprehension, desire and surrender. Read more

Time Out: At the risk of overhyping 80 minutes of intimate real-time, this is the soul of generosity, a beautifully vibrant and big-spirited film. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: It eats at you, just like renewed love. Read more

Eddie Cockrell, Variety: A savvy sequel that should speak to anyone who's let that one great love slip away. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: All one could wish for in a sequel -- it enriches, glosses, and completes the original. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Before Sunset has an easy, unforced air about it, mostly because of what seems to be a real rapport between the two lead actors. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: The incessant jawboning of Before Sunset is all foreplay and no climax. Read more