Setelah enam bulan dari waktu yang disepakati, Jesse muncul di tempat yang telah mereka tentukan, tapi Celine tidak muncul. Jesse tidak tahu alasan Celine tidak datang. Ia juga tidak pernah bertemu Celine lagi. Untuk menemukan kembali Celine, Jesse lalu menulis sebuah novel yang mengisahkan pertemuannya dengan Celine sembilan tahun sebelumnya, tentang satu hari bersama Celine yang tidak bisa dilupakannya meski Jesse telah beristri dan mempunyai seorang anak laki-laki. Saat mempromosikan novelnya di Paris, Celine hadir dalam acara bedah buku dan itulah untuk pertama kalinya Jesse bertemu Celine lagi.
Bagian terbaik dari film ini adalah plotnya yang tidak klise. Berapa banyak film yang bercerita tentang perselingkuhan setelah seseorang bertemu lagi dengan mantan kekasihnya dan cinta lama pun bersemi kembali? Richard Linklater, salah satu penulis script sekaligus sutradara film ini tidak membiarkan Before Sunset terjebak dalam plot murahan. Hingga akhir film, walaupun cinta Celine dan Jesse masih tetap seperti sembilan tahun yang lalu, tidak ada detil perselingkuhan dalam film ini, cuma sekedar perbincangan sementara hingga matahari terbenam. Meski begitu, sama seperti sekuel pertamanya, Before Sunset juga masih mengandalkan kekuatan dialog yang lucu, dalam, dan filosofis. Berikut adalah beberapa di antaranya:
Jesse: I heard this story once, about when the...the Germans were occupying Paris and they had to retreat back, they wired Notre Dame to blow. But they had to...they had to leave one guy in charge of hitting the switch and the guy, the soldier, he...he couldn't do it. You know, he just sat there, knocked out by how beautiful the place was. And then, when the Allied troops came in, they found all the explosives just lying there...and the switch unturned and they found the same thing at...Sacre Coeur...Eiffel Tower...a couple of other places, I think.
Céline: Is that true?
Jesse: I don't know... I always liked the story, though.
Céline: Yeah, that's a great story. But you have to think that Notre Dame will be gone one day. There used to be another church or cathedral at the same...right there.
Jesse: What, right in the same spot?
Céline: Yeah. Yeah, this is great, I've never done this!
Céline: I forget about how beautiful Paris is.
Jesse: It's not so bad being a tourist, you know.
Céline: Thank you for getting me on the boat.
Jesse: Well, you're welcome. You know, I think that book that I wrote, in a way, was like building something. So that I wouldn't forget the details of the time that we spent together. You know like, just as a reminder that...that once we really did meet, you know, that this was real. This happened.
Céline: I’m happy you’re saying that because...I mean, I always feel like a freak because I'm never able to move on like (snaps her fingers) this! You know? People just have an affair or even...entire relationships...they break up and they forget! They move on like they would have changed brand of cereals! I feel I was never able to forget anyone I've been with. Because each person have...their own specific qualities. You can never replace anyone. What is lost is lost. Each relationship when it ends really damages me; I never fully recover. That's why I'm very careful with getting involved because...it hurts too much! Even getting laid - I actually don't do that. I will miss of the person the most mundane things. Like I'm obsessed with little things. Maybe I'm crazy, but...when I was a little girl, my mom told me that I was always late to school. One day she followed me to see why. I was looking at chestnuts falling from the trees rolling on the sidewalk or...ants crossing the road...the way a leaf casts a shadow on a tree trunk...little things. I think it's the same with people. I see in them little details so specific to each of them that move me and that I miss, and...will always miss. You can never replace anyone, because everyone is made of such beautiful specific details.
(Smiling directly at Jesse.) Like I remember the way your beard has a little bit of red in it. And how the sun was making it glow that...that morning, right before you left. I remember that and...I missed it! I'm really crazy, right?
Jesse: Alright, now I know for sure. You wanna know why I wrote that stupid book?
Jesse: So that you might come to a reading in Paris, and I could walk up to you and ask, "Where the fuck were you?"
Céline: (Sits down close to him.) No, you think I'd be here today?
Jesse: I'm serious, I think I...I wrote it in a way to try to find you.
Céline: OK, that's... I know that's not true, but that's sweet of you to say it.
Jesse: I think it is true. What do you think the chances were of us ever meeting again?
Céline: After that December I'd say almost zero. If we're not real anyway, right? We're just...characters in that old lady's dream. She's on her death bed fantasizing about her youth...so of course we have to meet again!
Jesse: Oh, God! (Sighs loudly as he walks to the side of the boat, and looks back at her.) Why weren't you there in Vienna?
Céline: (Hesitantly.) I told you why!
Jesse: Well, I know why, I just (pounds his fist into his hand twice) I wish you would've been! Our lives might have been so much different!
Céline: You think so?
Jesse: I actually do...
Céline: Maybe not, maybe we would have hated each other, eventually.
Jesse: Oh, what, like we hate each other now?
Céline: (Follows him to the side of the boat.) You know, maybe we're...we're only good at brief encounters, walking around in European cities, in warm climate!
Jesse: Oh, God, why didn't we exchange phone numbers and stuff? Why didn't we do that?
Céline: (Puts a finger to her mouth in a sarcastic gesture.) Because we were young and stupid?
Jesse: You think we still are?
Céline: I guess when you're young...you just believe there'll be many people with whom you'll connect with. Later in life you realize it only happens a few times.
Jesse: Yeah, you can screw it up! You know, misconnect...
Céline: (Circles from his left to his right.) Well, the past is the past. It was meant to be that way.
Jesse: What, you really believe that? That everything is fated?
Céline: Well, you know, the world might be less free than we think.
Céline: Yeah, when given this exact circumstances, that's what will happen every time. Two part hydrogen, one part oxygen, you'll get water every time.
Jesse: No, no...no, I mean, what if your grandmother had lived a week longer, you know? Or passed away a week earlier, days even, you know. Things might have been different, I believe that!
Céline: No, you can't think like that.
Céline: You know what? Reality and love are almost contradictory for me. It's funny...every single of my ex’s...they're now married! Men go out with me, we break up, and then they get married! And later they call me to thank me for teaching them what love is, and…
Jesse: (Smiling sympathetically.) Oh God. (Rubs his face with both hands.)
Céline: …and that I taught them to care and respect women!
Jesse: (Pointing at himself.) I think I'm one of those guys.
Céline: (Yelling.) You know, I want to KILL them!! Why didn't they ask ME to marry them? I would have said "No", but at least they could have asked!! But it's my fault, I know it's my fault, because...I never felt it was the right man. Never! But what does it mean the right man? The love of your life? The concept is absurd; the idea that we can only be complete with another person is...EVIL!! RIGHT??!!
Jesse: (Sheepishly.) Can I talk?
Céline: (Speaking more quietly.) You know, I guess I've been heartbroken too many times. And then I recovered. So now, you know, from the starts I make no effort…because I know it’s not going to work out, I know it’s not going to work out.
Jesse: I just...I don't wanna be one of those people who are...getting divorced at 52 and falling down into tears admitting that they never really loved their spouse, and they feel that their life has been (waves his hand, as if being pulled) sucked up into a vacuum cleaner! You know, I want a great life. I want her to have a great life. She deserves that! Alright? But we're just living in a pretense of a marriage, responsibility and all these...just...ideas of how people are supposed to live. Then I...I have these dreams...
Céline: What dreams?
Jesse: (Looks away distantly, eyes starting to water.) I have these dreams, you know, that I’m…I'm standing on a platform, and uh, you keep going by on a train, and...you go by, and you go by, and you go by, and you go by, and I wake up with the fucking sweats, you know? And then I have this other dream, oh...where you're...pregnant, in bed beside me, naked, and I want so badly to touch you, but you tell me not to and then you look away and...and I...I...I touch you anyway, right on your ankle and your skin is so soft and I wake up in sobs, alright? (Inhales deeply.) And my wife is sitting there looking at me, and I feel like I'm a million miles from her, and I know that there's something...wrong! (Céline reaches out to stroke Jesse’s face, but pulls her hand back before he sees her.) You know, that I ca...that I can't keep living like this, that there's gotta be something more to love than commitment. But then I think that...I might have given up...on the whole idea of romantic love. That I...I might have put it to bed that...that day when you weren't there. You know, I think I might have done that.
Céline: (Eyes starting to water again.) Why are you telling me all this?
Jesse: I'm sorry. I don't know, I'm...I...I should...I...I shouldn't have.
Céline: (Motions to her cat in the path before them.) Here is my kitty! Oh, so cute! Look at him. You know what I love about this cat? It's that...every morning, I bring him down to the courtyard, and every single morning he looks at everything like it was the first time! Every corner, every tree, every plant. He smells everything with his little cute nose. Oh, I love my kitty! I love my kitty!
Jesse: What's his name?
Jesse: (Disbelievingly, then smugly.) Che? Uh-huh.
Céline: No, "Che" in Argentina means "Hey"! (Cuddling the cat.) Oh, baby! Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Céline: (Walks slowly toward him from the kitchen.) OK. What do you want to hear? I have a...I have 3 songs in English. One's about my cat, one's about...my ex-boyfriend, well, ex-ex-boyfriend, and there’s one about…(sits on the bed opposite Jesse) well...it's just a...little waltz. (Picks up her guitar, which is leaning against the bed.)
Jesse: A waltz? Yeah, play the waltz.
Céline: I haven't played it in a while, you sure? (Jesse nods enthusiastically, with a big grin.) Alright, the waltz. OK…(sings)
Let me sing you, a waltz. Out of nowhere, out of my thoughts. Let me sing you, a waltz. About this one night stand. You were for me that night, Everything I always dreamt of in life.
But now you're gone. You are far gone. All the way to your island of rain.
It was for you just a one night thing. But you were much more to me, Just so you know.
I don't care what they say I know what you meant for me that day.
I just wanted another try. I just wanted another night. Even if it doesn't seem quite right.
You meant for me much more Than anyone I've met before.
One single night with you, little...Jesse... Is worth a thousand with any-body. I have no bitterness, my sweet. I'll never forget this one night thing. Even tomorrow in other arms. My heart will stay yours until I die.
Let me sing you a waltz Out of nowhere, out of my blues. Let me sing you a waltz. About this lovely one night stand.
(Céline breathes a huge sigh of relief as she finishes the song. Jesse claps.)
Jesse: No, one more, one more. Please, please? C’mon. Please, please?
Céline: No! No, no, no, no - it was our deal. One... one song! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
Céline: You can have your tea, and then ah... (Quickly retreats to the kitchen.)
Jesse: (Stands up and approaches the bookcase.) Alright, let me...Let me ask you one question. Do you just plug that name in for every guy that comes up here?
Céline: Oh, yes, of course! What do you think, that I wrote this song about you? Are you nuts? (Laughs.)
Tidak hanya karena plotnya yang sederhana, saya juga selalu suka dialog dalam film ini; meski saya sudah menontonnya sebanyak empat kali. Dan saya selalu suka saat Celine menerangkan pada Jesse bahwa Che dalam bahasa Argentina berarti hey. Salah satu tulisan saya tentang film yang berjudul "Tentang Che" pada akhirnya selesai juga saya tulis setelah tertunda cukup lama juga karena dialog dalam film ini, khususnya saat Celine dan Jesse bicara tentang kucing Celine yang bernama Che.
Baca script Before Sunset di sini