Posted by: ckckred | June 29, 2013

Before Midnight

before-midnight-image

In 1995, director Richard Linklater introduced audiences to Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in Before Sunrise.  They first met on a train to Vienna in their early twenties, full of hopes and dreams.  Nine years later they convene again in Paris in the follow-up film Before Sunset with a slightly more defined interpretation of the world.  Now they are in their forties, together living in Paris with their new two twin girls.  They are the same fresh faces that the viewers remember back eighteen years go, but they are slightly antagonized by the world they live in and their accomplishments.  All their hopes and dreams seem to be in the past, but they strive to achieve more.

2013 has been a year that’s been remarkably underwhelming thus far with only a few bright spots (such as To The Wonder and Mud).  The problem is that few films have really attempted to capture the array of human emotion (with the exceptions being those two I’ve mentioned).  Before Midnight manages to not only display human anxiety, but captures more depth than any movie since Michael Haneke’s Amour.  Linklater’s trilogy defines romance with raw passion.  The scenarios of the movies might seem to be out of a page from a fairytale, but the conversations and actions of the characters feel realistic.  Before Midnight is the strongest and most confident of the trilogy and is the year’s first true masterpiece.

Jesse and Celine currently are on vacation in Greece for a holiday. In the beginning of the film, Jesse takes his son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) from his original marriage to the airport, where he will go back to home in the United States with Jesse’s ex-wife.  Jesse jokes around and plays with his son, but is constantly reminded that he cannot be with him.  When Jesse offers to go to one of Hank’s piano recitals, Hank asks him not to go in fear that he’ll argue with his mother.

That first scene is only a few minutes long, but it lingers throughout the entire movie and carries great consequences.  Soon, Jesse returns back to an apartment complex where he is staying not only with Celine and his daughters but a famed writer and a few other couples.  Jesse works on a new novel while Celine talks with the others.  In a lengthy sequence, Jesse and Celine have dinner with the couples and compare their romances together.

Whereas the first two films were about the creation of Jesse and Celine’s relationship, Before Midnight primarily rests on the state of it.  Jesse and Celine’s love for each other is tested throughout the movie.  Jesse wants to be with his son.  Celine suggests that he can try to have Hank live in Paris.  When Jesse throws the possibility of moving back to America, she throws a fit, risking not only their well being but own love for each other.

Linklater plays out the movie in the same fashion as its predecessors.  Before Midnight is made up of long takes and discussions between the characters.  The film is only about a short time span (about a day), but Linklater never wastes a second of the movie that eventually he transports the viewers into the movie.  Linklater’s use of dialogue also keeps the film lively.  Linklater as well as Hawke and Delpy wrote the script, which feels so energetic. All the actors deliver their lines so perfectly and deliver it with such humor and grace, that it takes the movie to a golden state.

What Linklater has accomplished with Before Midnight and the trilogy in total is simplifying life, through two characters’ hopes and dreams.  Whether Before Midnight is the conclusion of the series or not is if Linklater has any more stories to tell, but if it is he has ended the trilogy on a strong note.  Before Midnight is funny, sad, and touching, a sort of modern masterpiece.

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Responses

  1. Excellent review, makes me want to watch the first two again before seeing this.

    • Thanks! It’s a great movie. I watched the first two recently before I could see this.

  2. Great review. Can’t wait to catch up with this.

    • Thanks! I highly recommend it, it’s the year’s best film thus far in my opinion.

  3. I still have yet to see these films but I have heard so many great things about this trilogy, that will change soon.

    • Thanks for the comment. I only got to see the other two films recently. The trilogy is great and this one is my favorite.

  4. Beautiful movie. Sad, but honest at the same time and never becomes a depressing chore to get through. Best of the year, so far. Good review.

    • Thanks! Yeah, easily the best film of the year so far. A great conclusion for a great trilogy.

  5. Great review mate. This was probably my favourite of the three Before films although you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between them to be honest. They work so well because of each other. I actually loved that there were other characters in this one.

    • Thanks! This is my favorite of the three as well.

  6. Nice review man. I really wanted to love this film. Unfortunately it had some bigger issues that I never had with this first two films. Now as I mention in my review, there are parts I loved. Sadly its few issues were big enough to push me away a little.

    • Thanks! I thought that the movie might have seemed a bit unnecessary, but I still absolutely loved it.

  7. Great review, man, completely agree on this. Best movie of the year so far for me.

    • Thanks! Easily my favorite movie of the year as well.


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