Jesse and Celine met nine years before the film begins, spending a wonderful and memorable night together wandering the streets of Vienna; this evening comprised the film Before Sunrise (1995), of which Before Sunset is the sequel. Then, they had a whole night to talk and get to know each other, and they promised to stay in touch. Nine years later, Jesse in Paris on book tour for the novel he wrote about the time they shared and they have what feels like mere moments to reconnect before he has to catch a flight home.
First of all I have to say Before Sunrise is one of my all-time favorite movies; sweet and romantic, it's a lovely and true portrayal of two people who meet by chance and forge a beautiful connection. Sometimes traveling feels like being disconnected from the world and it's possible to make luminous, meaningful friendships with people one meets for a day- and never forgets, and Before Sunrise felt very real to me. Before Sunset, as much as I loved it, felt a little more forced, but it's still beautiful.
Jesse and Céline wander the streets, go to a café and finally back to Céline's apartment, and they talk. They catch up, they unwind their secrets, their triumphs and their shames. Their relationship reminds me of the kind of friends that come in and out of your life but never really leave it, the kind of true love divorced from the rest of your life that depends as much on fantasy as reality. It's one of those movies that just sweeps me up in its charm every time.