Tag Archives: paris

Before Sunset (2004)

“Baby, you are gonna miss that plane.”

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Vernon Dobtcheff

There was a possibility that, as a sequel to Before Sunrise, the image people had formed for the future of Jesse and Celine could have been ruined. Before Sunset has been approached very well though, not as a commercialised vehicle to cash in on, but just as a natural progression with the story of these two star-crossed lovers.

The film picks up 9 years after the brief encounter that happened between Jesse and Celine. Having written a book about this one-of-a-kind meeting, Jesse is doing a book tour with his last stop being Paris. Here, as he hoped, he meets Celine once again and the two of them, grown-up with real lives now, reminisce and talk about the years that have flown by.

With a natural chemistry that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy captured in the first film, the romantic connection between Jesse and Celine is as apparent as ever. With their conversation focused on general topics like how they’ve been and what they’ve been up to, it soon turns towards the obvious and becomes fixated upon this strong and fantastic connection that always seems to spark when the two meet. Even though each has gotten on with their lives, you can’t help but root for the two to be together.

Director Linklater has this fantastic ability to really explore and develop this relationship. From the beginning, being that of the first film, he really takes time in showing just two normal people bonding and in such a natural way. Conversation is a big part, if not the main reason for the two becoming so close, so the writers must also must be given credit for this fundamental element.

Before Sunset is another fantastic piece from Linklater and follows on so well from Before Sunrise. With yet another open end that has us guessing again about the possible relationship between Jesse and Celine, the movie has one of the best last lines to close.

Star rating:  7.5/10

Directed by Richard Linklater.

Running time 80 minutes.

Before Sunrise (1995)

“Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Andrea Eckert

I imagine it’s like, what every guy dreams of happening, right?

While on a train to Vienna, Jesse, a young American spending a few weeks backpacking in Europe, meets the girl of his dreams the day before his flight back home. With his charm and quite simply, good looks, he convinces sexy parisian Celine to get off the train with him and spend the night in Vienna with him, exploring and getting to know one another.

Before Sunrise is all about these two, without a real supporting cast they are left to carry the script and do so amazingly. Where it lulls in dialogue – as normal conversations do – their body language takes over and shows just what a genuine bond these two are forming. There are no big themes or dramatic moves in the film, it’s all pretty simple, just like what would happen if two strangers met and decided to spend the day together. There’s ups and downs in dialogue, ranging from heavy discussions about God to simple observations like the beauty of the city, and this approach really made this romantic connection ever more real.

If anything, the film really pushes self-fulfilment and self-discovery on its audience. We see both characters reveal more of themselves as time passes, even with the two knowing that they’ll probably never see each other again. It’s this grounded realisation that makes the film so relatable. Even though they each have hopes of meeting again, there are no sweeping gestures suggesting they’re going to make it some long-distance relationship. It quits while it’s ahead and this secures the film as one of the realest romances I have seen.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have this instant connection on the screen. They make what we’re watching seem so real and unforced, it could almost be passed as improvisation. Their reactions, their ideas, their personalities; at no point do their characters seem contrived or typecast. Bouncing off each other’s energy, their friendship blossoms and it seems completely genuine. They have this social awkwardness with each other at the beginning but grow and connect in all sorts of ways as time passes,. When it comes to say goodbye though, the slight awkwardness returns as their hopes of meeting in the future seem quite empty and unrealistic which they realise, and perhaps they’re only saying this as a politeness between friends.

Before Sunrise is a simple love story that I’m sure, even though bittersweet, everyone has hopes of having. Leaving the film on a high, with our own decisions about whether they meet up again or not, is the best conclusion that could have been drawn. If you’re sick of the typical Hollywood love-fests that are continually churned out on the big screen and want to see a real romance with some very good actors, this is your film!

Star rating: 8/10

Directed by Richard Linklater.

Running time 101 minutes.

Midnight In Paris (2011)

“That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me.”

Cast:  Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates

If you could go back to an era of your choice, in any city of the World, which would it be?

For Gil it would be Paris in the 1920s. Iconic, classic and very influential in progressive societies, it’s pretty easy to see why.

Owen Wilson plays Gil, a Hollywood hack that has recently discovered the true beauty of literature and art from the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. When on holiday in Paris with his materialistic and shallow fiance Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents, he is magically whisked away to this fantastic era at the stroke of midnight every night meeting the people who’s work he has become a great admirer of.

Films that go back in time always confuse me. Surely that whole issue would immediately change and rewrite history, never mind if it involves and influences main players like Picasso. That’s why to get my head around this film I had to discard my many questions. However Allen directs the film in such a way that science fiction is the last thing from your mind. Whereas most time travel films take up a large majority of the film explaining the ins and outs and logistics, Midnight in Paris is so sweet and charming that it boils down to something as simple as getting into an old car, no questions asked.

Owen Wilson stays true to his typically grounded and simplistic characterisation that we see in many of his films. This is great in that it deflates the ego the film starts to build up around itself. At times a bit pretentious, Wilson really does save it from being too ostentatious and glorified. After all, these actors aren’t actually the characters they are portraying.

The actors were all fantastic though. Cory Stoll as Hemingway, Kathy Bates as Gerude Stein and Marion Cotillard as Picasso’s mistress Adriana, were all main players for me. Giving convincing and interesting performances, it was great to see these actors play such infamous people that have become cultural icons over time. Hopefully Midnight in Paris will spark an interest amongst today’s younger generation towards the fascinating and influential period of the 1920s and onwards, including the pieces of work that were produced by the forever famous stars at that time.

Midnight in Paris is perhaps Woody Allen’s finest film of the past decade. Losing his spark and touch that had seen films such as Deconstructing Harry being sprung into success with high praises, Midnight in Paris will surely see his name back in the spotlight.

For anyone that is interested in the arts this film will be a great watch. Featuring the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and Salvador Dali, it really is a dream for admirers of such work. Beautifully shot with some delightful scenes and in a true artistic style, Midnight in Paris is a must-watch for Allen fans, romance fans and literature fans alike.

Star rating:   7.5/10

Directed by Woody Allen.

Running time 94 minutes.