“Before Sunset” is a sequel that pales beside its excellent
predecessor. Why does it go wrong when the same two actors, Julie Delpy
and Ethan Hawke, reprise their roles? The
problem is Ethan Hawke.
In the original, Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) met on a train at 23,
fell into wonderfully connected conversation, left the train in
As the sequel opens, Jesse is in
The movie opens beautifully with a few shots from the earlier film that
began with their meeting and ended with their promise.
We learn that one had kept the promise while the other had not.
Now they are in
Most movie reviewers want actors to succeed, and there is no pleasure in
placing the blame squarely on one performer.
Whether this is Ethan Hawke, the man, or Hawke the actor misplaying a
part is the puzzle. It seems that
neither side of him has grown more interesting in a decade.
With a scraggly mustache paired with a thin patch of chin hair in
obedience to the fashion mandate of today, he talks in monotone and flecks his
sentences with “ya knows,” and other lazy little interjections.
But wait a minute; Jesse is supposed to be a writer.
Never, not this leaden fellow. Let’s
just say that Jesse in
Julie Delpy, on the other hand, has become a sophisticated, spirited
woman. We watch her face for clues
to what’s going on in that eager mind. And
remember, there’s a lot of face-watching in this movie.
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