Before Sunset- Movie Notes

On one of those rare occasions where I found myself with both the afternoon and the television to myself, I came across Before Sunset (starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy), just starting, and I sat down to watch.  I had never heard anything about the film, but the opening shots of the streets of Paris captivated my interest. 

The story begins with Jesse (Hawke), an American author on tour to promote his book, reading a portion of his novel in a quaint little bookstore in Paris.  Then in walks this beautiful, blonde, French woman, Celine (Delpy), and instantly you know there is this history there, but he also has to continue with his reading, and she just waits patiently to the side.  Too, too good.

Well, there was a notepad on the coffee table (this is back to me, watching).  And also a pen.  I picked up both, and began furiously scribbling notes about the best parts of the movie (which is largely just the most beautiful, romantic, bittersweet, philosophical dialogue between the two main characters in any movie ever).  I hope this doesn’t spoil it, but here they are:

“I remember that day better than I remember entire years.”

“…much more hopeful and naive.”

Einstein said, if you don’t believe in any kind of magic or mystery, you’re as good as dead.

“If today was our last day, what would we talk about?”

To truly communicate…


Little Henry

“You can never replace anyone because everyone is made of such beautiful, specific details.”

“When you are young, you just believe there are all these people you will connect with, but later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.”

‘The past is the past.”

Interesting love, marriage, etc. discussion

Running small nursery with someone I used to date.

Men need to feel essential.


She doesn’t romanticize.  She was suffering too much all the time.


Not so easy for me to be a romantic.

“Blah” relationships.

“Fine till I read your f*&$ing book!”

Reality and love are almost contradictory to me.

Can’t live life trying to avoid pain.

[Not about you, about that moment in time]

“I don’t love her the way she needs to be loved.”



A million miles from her.

Got to be something more to love than commitment.

You were, for me, a waltz.  Let me sing you a waltz.

We are the sum of all the moments of our lives.

“Life feels more immediate; I can appreciate things more.”

I don’t know if that even gives a good flavor of what the movie is like, but it really is so tragic and lovely and thought-provoking.  Some of the best dialogue in a movie EVER.

P.S.  There was a sequel (actually a prequel), going back to their original meeting, several years (I think it was ten years) earlier.  I may or may not have seen that one as well.  And there may be more notes.  Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Before Sunset- Movie Notes

  1. This movie sounds like one I’d like. I appreciate movies that are so well-written that you feel you can (and want to) take notes. However, my laziness usually wins out and I always look up the quotes online later instead. Not sure what I would do without IMDB…which clearly just shows how nerdy I really am.

    • Nerdier than taking detailed notes while watching a movie for fun, all by yourself, in the middle of the afternoon? I think not. It is SO well-written. I’m not exaggerating: some of the best dialogue I have ever seen anywhere.

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