The characters in Before Sunset (and nine years ago in Before Sunrise) are insufferable. And yet, and yet… Have we not all been there. Before Sunrise was university dorm room seduction by half-arsed philosophy for ninety minutes. Your ability to find it cute and kooky probably boils down to how much of said seduction by half-arsed philosophy you practiced yourself, and the amount of self loathing you have. You might think that in the nine years between the films the characters would have grown out of this trait – but in many ways Before Sunset is even worse. Because of the importance of their previous meetings, their love-lives and technique has been bound up in that moment.

That’s right. They still believe that seduction by half-arsed philosophy can work!

It helps that Jesse is still the loveably thick lunkhead with bad teeth he was in the first film. Celine’s dark sense of humour is much more pronounced, as becomes clear later there is much more darkness in her character now. And the simple understated tracking of their movements was very nice. There is a slight suggestion that the film is just an extended video for Delpy’s music career (and the song seems almost out of place, but luckily these two pretents could quote Shakespeare for hours and it would be in character). However the problem with Before Sunset is that it gives us too much information.

Not about the six-months-on meeting. Sure there is now a canonical answer to that film, which Before Sunset replicates in a very different kind of way. Not even about how these characters grow older. Instead we find out the surname of Hawke’s character. From the off it is there, written on the book jacket, tempting you to think other thoughts. Jesse Wallace.
aka Jessie Wallace.