The third in the series from Richard Linklater, and probably my least favorite of the trilogy. Why? Maybe because it’s a little too grounded in reality.
The first two movies had a sort of magical, it-was-meant-to-be quality to them. You were rooting for these two generally likable people to get together. There were things they disagreed about, and some moments of anger, but overall, they just really dug being with each other. Well, spoiler alert, it turns out that after the credits rolled on Before Sunset, Jesse DID miss his flight, and he and Celine DID have an affair, and they DID end up together. Now, another 8 years down the road, they have a couple of kids and are dealing with the ups and downs of a long term relationship.
I guess the problem I had with it is just how ugly it got near the end. Whereas Jesee was once a bit pompous, he is now just a complete asshole at times, especially in the final scenes. And did we really need for this character to have cheated on the love of his life? That just didn’t sit right with me. The conflicts between them felt a little forced and just there to make a point. It didn’t seem true to the characters I came to know in the first two films.
All that said, there are still some good walking and talking moments in this one. It’s a lovely setting (Greece this time), as usual, and we have a few more characters thrown in this time for added conversational interest. The highlight being a speech given by a woman named Natalia at a dinner gathering relatively early in the film which concludes with, “Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.”
Maybe in another 8 years we’ll get an update on Jesse and Celine (Before Noon?). Until then…here’s to passing through.