There are four scenes that I will treasure forever:
1) The ferry ride, and the subtle ways you can tell they're both heartbroken, lonely, frustrated and angry. The way she discusses the "little details" that compose a person, and what she missed most in him. "Like I remember the way your beard has a bit of red it in, and how the sun was making it glow that...that morning right before you left."
2) The scene in the van, where they finally unburden themselves. One of the most emotionally raw and honest interplays I've seen on celluloid. The way she reaches out to touch him, but holds back at the last second. Much different in tone from the way Hawke reached out to brush her hair aside in the first film.
3) Celine's song. So simple yet so endearing. The way her voice fades to a whisper as she sings, "My heart will be yours until I die."
4) The ending, which is in all ways **PERFECT**. The slow fade, the utter charm of her Nina Simone impression, the ambiguity, and the wonderful look in his eyes as his youth, hope and happiness come rushing back to him while watching Celine dancing and singing (foreshadowed in the opening scene). This is, perhaps, one of the ten best endings in the cinema.
Hawke and Delpy are sublime, of course. This film requires incredibly subtle acting, and these are Oscar worthy performances that will not be recognized because they are not showy. Much of this film, like life, is acted with the eyes. Witness how Hawke stares at Delpy as she discusses her failed relationships on the ferry, or the sadness and longing in Delpy's eyes as she sings her love song.
As in the first film, the chemistry between them is indelible. My candidate for best on-screen couple ever.
This film is better than the first, because it provides a more unique perspective. In Sunset, we see the sobering effects of age and disappointment etched in their faces and clouding their lives. There is more at stake here, for they are nine years older, have made their share of mistakes, feel imprisoned by responsibilities, and must confront their shortcomings and problems. It's comforting to believe that hope and love will prevail in their case.