#241: Before Sunset (2004)

When and how did I watch this?

August 29th, 2015, on Amazon Prime.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I found out Richard Linklater directed it.  I only knew the director for School of Rock, which was made just before this film.  I also discovered it was a sequel.  I hate sequels.

What do I know about it now?

It’s like that moment when you’re trying to walk around a stranger and you both move in the same direction, and there’s that nervous moment of hesitation while you try to “guess” which way they’re going to go, and you both laugh and almost bump into each other.  It’s that feeling, for 80 minutes.

What are some themes in the film?

Memory, fate, unfulfilled destiny, growing up/old, responsibility versus youth, agnosticism, self-preservation, existentialism.  There’s quite a bit going on here.

Did this affect me personally?

Yes.  I wasn’t moved to tears, nor is there some kind of behavioral or moral change that it prompted, but it made me think about why we decide to do what we do, several times in many ways.

There is one particular moment that really got my attention — the reunited duo is being driven to the female’s apartment, and the male is pouring out his heart nearly to tears, and unbeknownst to him, in a sentimental moment, she reaches out to touch the back of his head, then hesitates and pulls back quickly. Not unlike their “moment” in the past, she decides otherwise. How many times have I hesitated in the same way?

Why is this ranked #241?

It’s an introspective work that can’t really be described. How does one make a movie that features almost exclusively dialogue?  Well, Mr. Linklater pulled it off, and it turns out to be a quality film.  The chemistry between the two characters is perfect — the awkwardness, the moving back and forth, the could haves and oh wells abounding. The whole film is quotable. It’s #241, but it could easily be a hundred spots higher. It beats the rest so far, depending on your taste.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She missed this one.

Would I watch it again?

Yes, just to see the minute nuances in their inflections and facial expressions.  The content of their conversation was enough for the first sitting.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Yeah. It has sentimental moments, but it’s not what you’d expect.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?


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