Before Sunset

Synopsis: Early thirty-something American Jesse Wallace is in a Paris bookstore, the last stop on a tour to promote his best selling book, This Time. Although he is vague to reporters about the source material for the book, it is about his chance encounter nine years earlier on June 15-16, 1994 with a Parisienne named Celine, and the memorable and romantic day and evening they spent together in Vienna. At the end of their encounter at the Vienna train station, which is also how the book ends, they, not providing contact information to the other, vowed to meet each other again in exactly six months at that very spot. As the media scrum at the bookstore nears its conclusion, Jesse spots Celine in the crowd, she who only found out about the book when she earlier saw his photograph promoting this public appearance. Much like their previous encounter, Jesse and Celine, who is now an environmental activist, decide to spend time together until he is supposed to catch his flight back to New York, this t
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Richard Linklater
Production: Warner Independent Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 30 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
80 min

Do you consider the book

to be autobiographical?

Well, I mean...

...isn't everything autobiographical?

I mean, we all see the world

through our own tiny keyhole, right?

I mean, I always think

of Thomas Wolfe.

Have you ever seen that little

one-page "Note to Reader"... the front

of Look Homeward, Angel?

Anyway, he says that we are the sum

of all the moments of our lives...

...and anybody who sits down to write

will use the clay of their own life...

...that you can't avoid that.

So when I look at my own life,

I have to admit, right, that I...

I've never been around a bunch of guns

or violence, you know, not really.

No political intrigue

or a helicopter crash, right?

But my life, from my own point of view,

has been full of drama, right?

And so I thought,

if I could write a book...

...that could capture what it's like

to really meet somebody...

One of the most exciting things

that's happened to me... to meet somebody,

make that connection.

And if I could make that valuable,

you know, to capture that...

...that would be the attempt, or...

Did I answer your question?

I'll try to be more specific.

Was there ever a French young woman

on a train you met...

...and spent an evening with?

See, to me, that... I mean...

...that's not important, you know?

- So that's a yes?

All right, since I'm in France and this

is the last stop of my book tour, yes.

Thank you.

Mr. Wallace, the book ends

on an ambiguous note.

We don't know.

Do you think they get back together

in six months... they promise each other?

Like they promised?

I think how you answer that,

you know, is...

It's a good test, right,

if you're a romantic or a cynic.

Right? I mean, you think

they get back together, right?

- You don't, for sure.

- No.

And you hope they do,

but you're not sure.

- That's why you're asking the question.

- Do you think they get back together?

I mean, did you in real life?

Did I in real...?

Look, in the words

of my grandfather, okay:

"To answer that would take

the piss out of the whole thing. "

We just have the time

for one last question.

What is your next book?

I don't know, man. I don't know.

I've been...

I've been thinking about this...

Well, I always kind of wanted

to write a book...

...that all took place

within the space of a pop song.

Like three or four minutes long,

the whole thing.

The story, the idea,

is that there's this guy, right...

...and he's totally depressed.

His great dream was to be a lover,

an adventurer, you know...

...riding motorcycles

through South America.

And instead he's sitting

at a marble table eating lobster.

He's got a good job and

a beautiful wife, right, but that...

Everything that he needs.

But that doesn't matter...

...because what he wants

is to fight for meaning.

You know? Happiness

is in the doing, right?

Not in the getting what you want.

So he's sitting there,

and just that second...

...his little 5-year-old daughter

hops up on the table.

And he knows that she should

get down, because she could get hurt.

But she's dancing to this pop song

in a summer dress.

And he looks down...

...and all of a sudden, he's 6.

And his high-school sweetheart

is dropping him off at home.

And they just lost their virginity,

and she loves him...

...and the same song is playing

on the car radio.

And she climbs up and starts dancing

on the roof of the car.

And now he's worried about her.

And she's beautiful, with a facial

expression just like his daughter's.

In fact, maybe that's why

he even likes her.

You see, he knows he's not

remembering this dance...

...he's there. He's there,

in both moments, simultaneously.

And just for an instant,

all his life is just folding in on itself.

And it's obvious to him

that time is a lie.

That it's all happening all the time...

...and inside every moment

is another moment...

...all happening simultaneously.

Anyway, that's kind of the idea.


Our author has to be going

to the airport soon... thank you all very much

for coming over this afternoon.

And a special thanks to Mr. Wallace

for being with us.

Thank you. Thank you.

We hope to see you here again

with your next book.

Thank you all. How much longer

before I have to go to the airport?

Oh, you should leave at 7:30...

- Seven-thirty at the very latest.

- Okay.

- Hi.

- Hello.

- How are you?

- Good, and you?

I'm good, yeah, I'm great. I'm...

Do you wanna, maybe,

get a cup of coffee?

Didn't he just say

you have a plane to catch?

Yeah. But, I mean, I have a little time.

- Okay.

- Yeah? All right, well, let me...

I'll meet you outside. Okay.

Excuse me. I'm just gonna go

get a cup of coffee.

- I'll be back at 7: 5.

- Did you sign all these?

- Yeah, I sure did.

- Get your driver Philippe's card... you can call his cell

if you're running late.

We'll put your bags in the car

so you're not late.

- All right, thanks for everything.

- Thank you.

Which one's Philippe?

- I can't believe you're here.

- I live here in Paris.

Are you sure you don't have to stay?

You're not supposed to talk more?

They're sick of me.

I spent the night here.

- You did?

- Yeah, they got a loft upstairs.

- How are you? This is so weird.

- I'm fine.

- It's good to see you.

- It's good to see you.

- So you want to go to a caf?

- Yeah.

Okay. There's one a little further

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Richard Linklater

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Before Sunset" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <>.

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