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other new + recent LAZE features:
o Flick: Before Sunrise
: Deadwood, Carnevale
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: Code 46
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: Minority Report
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: The Motorcycle Diaries
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: The Adventures of Priscilla
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: The Safety of Objects
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: City of God
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: Noi the Albino
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: Los Amantes del Circulo Polar
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: Dark Days
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: Super Size Me
: Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls

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flick pick | Before Sunset 2004
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater [characters, story, screenplay], Kim Krizan [characters, story], Ethan Hawke [screenplay], Julie Delpy [screenplay]
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: drama, romance
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: lovey
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis Back in his early 20s, Jesse had a one-night stand in Vienna with a French girl named Celine. Nine years later, Jesse finds himself in Paris, talking about the best-selling novel that he wrote based upon that night. Now married to another woman and with a young son as well, Jesse's family life seems like it's as much a success as his career. In actuality, though, Jesse's still reliving that perfect night in Vienna, wondering why things didn't work out, trying to convince himself he's doing the honorable thing by staying married to a woman who he likes all right, but doesn't love. He's finishing up his final talk on the last stop of his European tour, dodging questions about whether the book is based on a real girl or not, when he looks up and sees her, standing shyly in the back of the store. He quickly finishes up answering his audience's questions, and walks over to the woman he fell in love with almost a decade ago, and hasn't seen since. Celine and Jesse head to a café and then on a walk around the city, and after the initial awkwardness fades away, they're talking about politics and changing ideals, ambition and sex and relationships; they're debating and flirting, reminiscing and playing what ifs. Sure, she has a boyfriend; he's set to catch a plane back to the States, where his wife and kid are waiting. But as they let the facades down and start really talking, the only thing that seems to matter for now is that they're here, in Paris, together, falling in love all over again.

Review Don't get me wrong: I loved Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, the 1994 prequel to Before Sunset in which the characters of Jesse and Celine first meet. But I have to admit that I can sort of see my boy's point when he says that the characters in that film are a tad, well, annoying. They're overly earnest in their convictions, and their intellectualism teeters precariously on the brink of pretentious. They've experienced so little and talk like they know so much; they're just getting to that point where they sense how clueless about life they actually are, but aren't quite comfortable enough with that realization to accept and admit it to the rest of the world. Basically, they're quintessentially gen-x, and while I loved the authenticity of their characterizations and could see so much of myself in both, I can understand how some folks might find all that self-absorbed introspection hard to stomach. This, then, is exactly what makes Before Sunset an even better movie than its predecessor. Before Sunset follows the same freewheeling structure and style of Before Sunrise, but the difference now is that the characters are more mature. They're still smart, and fascinating, and passionate. But they seem so much more comfortable in their own skin now; they don't sound like they're worried about whether what they say will make them seem clever or cool or deep, especially once they get over their initial pretending-everything's-perfect-catching-up. While that first film was about young romance in all its giddy, glorious, naïve idealism, this movie is about love -- both its disappointments and its sublimity. It's about what happens after you spend the perfect night with the perfect person of your dreams, and things don't go so perfectly after all. Which is what makes the movie's abrupt, open-ended final scene particularly wonderful: it leaves you hanging at exactly the moment when everything seems possible. What could be more romantic than that? This is a movie about growing up, yet staying hopeful. —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun


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