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Before Midnight (2013)

June 24, 2013

before-midnight-poster1-405x600In Before Sunrise, Jesse, an American heading to Vienna from Budapest meets Celine, a French university student, on a train. Enticed with her, Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna. They talk for hours and fall in love, but the only problem was Jesse has a flight to catch back to America that night. In Before Sunset, Jesse has written a book nine years later inspired by his night with Celine. The bestselling novel brings a disconnected Celine to a Paris bookstore, where Jesse is doing a signing, in search of her old flame. They talk all night and fall in love all over again. The only problem is Jesse is married with a kid and has a flight to catch the next morning.

Before Midnight picks up seven years later with Jesse and Celine vacationing in Greece with their twin daughters. Realizing he has become a distant father to his soon to be in high school son, Jesse debates a life back in America causing a rift between himself and Celine. The two talk all day about their possible lack of a future because of their past.

Sure, I’ve oversimplified the “Before” series, but only as a means to stress just how these films aren’t great because of what they are about, but it’s the way the story unfolds that is so beautifully magnetizing. While watching Before Midnight, I couldn’t help but notice a giddy, excitement stirring within me. It was like being reconnected with a group of friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Jesse and Celine have kids now, and live in Paris! And what’s that, Celine’s debating a new job? Well where at? Oh yeah and how do you think that’s going to work out? The dialogue between Jesse and Celine roll off their tongues like water droplets from a leaf on a rainy day. Watching Ethan Hawke and Juliet Delpy interact is mesmerizing. The duo have the best on-screen chemistry since Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and not in just a steamy, sure I’d watch these people bone way, but in a way that makes them so real that I just want to sit and listen to the lurching intellect of these complex characters as a means of stimulating my own mental thoughts.

Thankfully, director Richard Linklater gives viewers the glory of doing just that. Co-written by Hawke and Delpy, the complexities of Jesse and Celine are exhaustively fleshed out throughout Before Midnight. I disliked Celine more than any of the previous films. I huffed and sighed numerous times throughout the film as Celine tiraded and bitched on at Jesse, constantly entrapping him a web that she seamlessly created and led him to, only to bite his head off for following suit. She enraged me, yet I couldn’t hate her. Instead, I empathized, and even more, sympathized with her during moments of menopausal blow ups. I understood her character more than I ever have in the earlier films, and seeing Celine’s reactions to situations made me question my own personal attitudes in my relationship.


In fact, watching Before Midnight prompted me to take an interpersonal look into my role as a partner and my feelings towards romanticism in a relationship. Thus, the ultimate beauty of Before Midnight. Jesse and Celine are together, there’s no question around it. They are soul mates who fell passionately in love with one another and are now enjoying the fruits and dealing with the spoils of domesticated life. Seeing them struggle and hearing their discourse reminds me that communication is the vital role in relationship. It may lead to a drunken fight with someone leaving a room out of frustration and no panties, but only through dialogue can a solution be made. Before Midnight, like the previous films are very verbose and all about the conversations that these people have with one another and others they interact it. Because of this, my own thoughts and discussions have been stirred. The best films are the ones that keep you thinking before and after the film.

SEE IT. And fall in love with Jesse and Celine all over again.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2013 10:09 PM

    I thought the movie was very good, a romance unlike many others, and a fitting end to a trilogy. Unless of course, they bring out a fourth… (Here’s hoping!) Good review!

    • June 27, 2013 10:54 PM

      Thanks so much for the response! I usually don’t care for sequels but if they make a forth a few years down the line, I’ll definitely be front and center!


  1. A Year of Films to See and Avoid (2013) | The Cinephiliac

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