What I found interesting about the Before Sunrise/set was the different tracks each film took – first part sweetly romantic the second part a bit more cynical. In spite of this each installment of the Richard Linklater-helmed films was markedly understated in its delivery. It would not have worked any other way.
In “Before Sunrise” we are introduced to two characters who are embarking on a journey – both literally and figuratively. Through their esoteric philosophical debates on this journey, I was left with the sense that these are two people trying to find there place in the world and understand what it all means. Along the way they find each other and in each other find what they feel like are kindred souls. At the conclusion of “Before Sunrise,” we are left with some ambiguity about their respective futures, and whether they be together or apart.
Fast-forward nearly a decade later and in “Before Sunset” the bloom has definitely gone off the rose and what we encounter are two people very much involved in the world having to deal with what I think are typical dilemmas that accompany being thirty-somethings (at least I think so). The questions left at the conclusion of “Before Sunrise” are eventually answered and new questions are raised (What if her grandmother did not die? And more immediately pressing, will he make his train?).
At times (especially in “Before Sunrise”) I felt disconnected from some of the “meaning of life” dialogue, but not so much as to alienate me from the films. I think I was too caught up in the romance and chemistry of the two leads.
To ask me which one of the movies I prefer is very hard question for me to answer. I definitely related to some of the weighty, “angsty” issues dealt with in “Before Sunrise,” but I have to admit that I really loved the relaxed nature and brisk movement of “Before Sunset.” At times I did not feel like I was watching a film at all but rather was an invisible, silent third member of a conversation between two people.
Both films share the thread of the wonder we encounter as we pass through life, the people we meet and what it all means in the end.