The Best Sequel Ever?
Recently I watched Before Sunset for a third time. And that viewing only strengthened my conviction about the movie being the best sequel ever. More so in the year of the threequels.
While Before Sunrise itself was one of the best conceived and best written movies ever, what makes Before Sunset a lot better is the poignant realism. Sunrise was optimistic, romantic, cheerful, with everything going right. Sunset, which takes place and was shot 9 years after the first movie, also has room for disappointment, rigmarole, unfortunate coincidences as opposed to fortunate ones, and a greater emotional maturity.
Yet, the core quality which made the first movie so special, is still present, and as fresh as ever - the flippantly profound and seemingly effortless conversations. Just like one of points made in the movie says -
Céline: And, what really surprised me, is that I was feeling with life, the same way am now. I was much more hopeful and naive, but the core, and the way I was feeling things, is exactly the same. It made me realize I haven't changed much at all.
Jesse: Yeah, I don't think anybody does; people don't want to admit it, but it's like we just...we have these innate set points.
Jesse: You know, it's like...nothing much that happens to us changes our disposition.
Céline: Really, you believe that?
Jesse: I think so. I read this study where they followed people who had won the lottery, and people who had become paraplegics, right. I mean you'd think that...you know, one extreme is gonna make you...euphoric, and the other suicidal. But the study shows that after about 6 months…
Jesse: Right...as soon as people got used to their new situation, they were more or less the same.
Céline: The same?
Jesse: Well, yeah...Like if they were basically an optimistic, jovial person, they're now an optimistic, jovial person, in a wheelchair. If they're a petty miserable asshole, OK, they're a petty miserable asshole with a new Cadillac, a house and a boat.
And that is what is needed to make a good sequel. Where the story and characters evolve organically, but the core remains the same. And no other sequel has managed that so well.
Which is why, in my opinion, Before Sunset is the best sequel ever.