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You can skip movies 10 times but never go back.
We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.
Whilst Before Midnight, the concluding chapter (or is it?) in Jesse and Celine’s decades spanning romantic saga, is as insightful, intimate and articulate as the preceding installments it proves to be quite a different experience. Gone is the hopefulness of youth and in its place is the pragmatism of adult life as the fairy tale couple come to terms with the reality of their relationship.
Richard Linklater’s Before… series is one of the finest relationship dramas in all of cinema. Spanning twenty years and some of Europe’s most beautiful cities, the trilogy has emotionally grown with the characters and audience. Whilst both Before Sunrise, and to a lesser extent, Before Sunset, were built on the optimism of a what-if fantasy,…
The Good: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy deliver the finest performances of their careers; absolutely Oscar-worthy stuff. Top-notch screenplay. Perfect balance of romance, drama, and comedy. Rapid-fire laughs; more hilarious than the previous two films combined. Quotes galore: "You are the fucking mayor of crazy town." "The upside to being over 35 is you don't get raped as much." "Kissy, kissy. Titty, titty. Pussy..." The impressive long take of the car ride from the airport. Jesse and Celine's conversation with their friends at the lunch table. Celine's lab rat impression. Celine's bimbo act. The walk to the hotel. The epic quarrel in the…
"Its still there. Its still there. Is still there. Its gone..."
Jesse and Celine are sitting at a little bistro table next to each other while staring out at the sun setting behind a hill in southern Greece. They are at a nice little place by the waterside and there are torches lit, and quiet conversations going on in the background. You can almost feel the warm breeze and taste the oceanic air. They are both staring at the setting sun and Celine is commenting on how its still there, still there, and then its gone below the hill. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's age lined faces are now cast in shadow and a slight frown appears on both of…
Sunny Sunday symphony
Sands seeping slowly
Slowly suddenly swiftly
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Before Midnight might just be the best film in the Before trilogy. Darker, more raw, more tender, more emotional (if that's even possible), and more heartfelt; Before Midnight is a perfect combination of all of Linklater's talents, and this film couldn't be more special.
What I loved most about this installment is that the arc that our favorite characters take is much more devastating and drastic than you could possibly imagine. Before my viewing, I heard a lot about this film being depressing or dreary. Sure, that is true, but what we also have is a film that is honest and truthful, no matter the situation.
Almost every scene in this film is gold. The opening conversation with Jesse's son.…
I saw this at a Press & Industry screening at Sundance. About a half hour before the screening, an executive from a studio showed up. Someone in line asked if he was attached to the film in any way and he said, "No, I'm just here as a fan."
It was that kind of screening.
It's probably impossible for me to have hated this movie. They would have had to spectacularly fuck it up, and there's no reason why they would. They're too smart and it's not like this is a sequel to a film that made $100M.
At the screening, the audience was rapt. People were tearing up before the credits were done. By the end, nearly everyone was.
They're so old!
At 25 years old, 2 months away from becoming a father, this is almost an existential horror film. Is this what I have coming to me?
A kind-of "Ghost of X-Mas Future" nightmare to see unfold, watching two characters that you've invested so much time, and emotion to; being constantly distracted, never being able to expound on a thought in the way we're so familiar. This chapter is haunting, and uncomfortable. The much discussed hotel room sequence is the pressure cooker come to its head, and exploding. It's raw, confrontational, and overdue. Years and years of silent resentment, for the fact that it's no longer lust between strangers, but now forced sentimentality in brief moments, between the mundane routine of everyday life.
I can't think of any three films that look at the idea of love in this way. The 18 year arc of Celine and Jesse is crucially, savagely honest.
There is a cumulative achievement with Linklater's "Before" trilogy much larger and more impressive than any one of these movies taken by itself.
Perhaps some future me will be able to articulate what it is, but the present version of myself is just happy to have been with these characters at all.
Jesse, I love you to pieces, but could you actually admit when you're wrong for once in your goddamn life?
The third installment in trilogy revisits our characters dealing with more realistic problems. Everything about the dialogue, characters, and performances is still their, but the movie is less romantisized. The movie is an emotional gut-punch to the true love idealism of the first 2. If you can get past the sadder themes it's still great and nostalgic.
If you want true love, then this is it. This is real life. It's not perfect but it's real.
That's the only thing I have to say about this. Simply beautiful!
I shouldn't be surprised that the best of the Before trilogy is about the most important aspect about true love that not enough movies talk about: What happens years after they get together?
Are they still in love? Are they still happy? Are they even the same people?
Midnight handles these topics with the same grace as the first two films and it's definitely my favorite of the three by far and I don't think a better or honest love story exists.
These three movies are beautiful in ever possible way and really helped remind me why I love movies in the first place.
While the first 2 films have this kind of hopeless romantic feel to them, this film completely turns that on its head and deals with these 2 characters daily lives with one another now that they are together and have children. In my opinion this felt the most realistic out of the trilogy, and although it's the longest film out of the 3, it by far felt the shortest. Loved it, and I felt a little sad once the credits started rolling that there were no more I could watch focusing on these 2 characters.
”If you want love, then this is it. This is real life. It’s not perfect, but it’s real.”
1. My favorite of Linklater’s Before trilogy. Probably because it was ultimately the most relatable for me, at the time when I decided to watch all three of them.
2. The movie is almost split into two parts – the dinner party with friends, and the subsequent hotel sequence that follows. The hotel sequence, which is coincidentally the only time Ethan and Julie are completely alone on the screen, is brilliant. The acting is phenomenal; they convey real emotions and real feelings – though largely comprised of bad feelings, they hit very close to home and are overflowing with honestly.
Films that are everything to me
Life changing cinematic experiences