Before Again?

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We’re only about mid-way through a year filled with great movies, but today I learned the one I most want to see will be coming out next year. In an interview online, Ethan Hawke said filming was about to begin on the next Before movie, and it would be out next year. There were nine years between Before Sunrise, and this new movie will be coming out nine years after Before Sunset.

I’m not going to waste time speculating on plot or setting, I’m just thrilled to see this series continue. For those not familiar with these movies, I have to say I pity you. Each is nothing more than an extended conversation between two characters circling the prospect of falling in love, and at the same time each is so much more.

I saw Before Sunrise in 1995, while still in college. I had no career, nor plans for one yet, wasn’t dating, and was feeling alone and directionless. Watching Celine (played beautifully by Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Hawke) wander around Prague talking I felt like I was watching the truest depiction of my generation, without trying to be hip or trendy. I left the theater still feeling directionless, but not quite so alone.

Nine years later I was married, with a one year old child, and found just as much connection in Before Sunset. Jesse and Celine were at the same time themselves, but also quite different, carrying nine years of very different lives. While they had certainly learned more, their conversation was just as sharp, as rich, and as true as it had been that evening in Prague, and as a golden sun set over Paris, watching them catch up carried as much spark and energy as watching them meet.

Now nine more years have gone past. How have they weathered those years? Have they done so together or apart? Will we see their story conclude or, like each time before, will we say goodbye to them with questions still lingering?

Most importantly, will we care? When Before Sunset was announced, it seemed odd to make a sequel to a simple movie like Before Sunrise, and yet it worked beautifully. But now that we’ve seen the trick performed so well, will we be as thrilled as we were before? I image we will, mainly because the joy of these movies is in the time spent with the characters. It’s a year away, but I’m already anticipating seeing them again.

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