This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Mike Apps🍿’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I've said it before but the Before (😉) trilogy is the best in cinema - yes I've seen Apu, Three Colors, and LOTR. But here's how great the Before films are, fans of this trilogy would tell you Sunset is their least favourite - not worst - least favourite! If this is the weakest Before movie, it is still A+ in the romantic drama subgenre, miles ahead of its peers!
This is actually my favourite Before movie the more I think about it - it's the perfect middle ground between love at first sight and the growing pains abound to come. I actually think this works slightly better than the first because it takes the premise of Sunrise (instead of Vienna it's Paris this time) and asks what might have happened if they had acted on their feelings back then. Unlike the first one, you can tell Hawke and Delpy wrote the dialogue themselves - this is what they would say 9 years later as these characters. If Sunrise was Linklater's teenage love story, Sunset is a Linklater, Hawke and Delpy adult drama. There is also more tension in Sunset than Sunrise, perhaps because there is more at stake this time around, and that any decision they make now will alter the next step in their lives. You can really feel Ethan Hawke channeling his divorce at the time into his character!
And THAT ending? Nina Simone hasn't been done justice in cinema before or after this! It also really helps that Julie Delpy is a damn good singer-songwriter! It's not just the songs, it's the glances and body language, the smiles and giggles, by the time Jesse knows he's gonna miss his flight and the film fades to black we understand things will never be the same for our characters!