Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★★

Hey what a faithful rendering of the intimacy in conflict! What a horrible wonderful gift to have the chance to communicate yourself, hear someone else communicate themselves, and then struggle in kindness to give up control and contend your truth without compromise. To know someone so thoroughly that you unintentionally hold on your ring the key to their destruction but the mercy to never turn it is really quite something.

The last half of this movie is the Marriage Story meme scene but quieter, truer, sadder, more gracious, more cruel. Before Midnight understands the anger that comes when you zoom out from your relationship and behold its shape, naked dimension and definition, the edges that will surely cut two people when grasped. The climax of the Before trilogy is a vital verbal violence that those who haven’t experienced in real life don’t quite know what it’s like to be loved so harshly. It is two people using every word and tone and trick they know to beg each other “Please know me. Please understand me.”

Being a mere decade younger than Jesse and Céline in this movie spooks me pale (paler, rather). My age-old obsession with my age is unhelpful. But I compare, and I watch, and weep, and I’m sucker for the movies, man! I find myself rapt by the idea of putting on miles. Delpy and Hawke are cursed with perpetual gorgeousness until they die and yet the exceptional pleasure of this trilogy was the miles you saw on their faces. No dumb prosthetics, just two decades of time.

Before Midnight is regarded as the rude awakening to the fantasies of the first two but it’s triggered in me a strong feeling. I’d love an unreal day in Vienna as much as anyone. But really I want to share time with someone, live with the sadness, and feel the miles tick by on our faces. The hardness of love seems wonderful to me. Five stars!

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