Sunday, June 23, 2013

Before Midnight: Movie Review


The evolution of lives, the devolution of a relationship, the fight of immaturity versus maturity.
Eighteen years later, and we once again get to look in on the lives of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) for a day. Richard Linklater is a master of dialogue; “Before Sunrise” (1995) and “Before Sunset” (2004) frequently cited as examples of the best written romantic dramas in existence. The good news is that “Before Midnight” fits in that line. Jesse and Celine have finally found time in their hectic lives to just have a meandering conversation again. 2013

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Screenplay by: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

This type of filmmaking offers so much opportunity for the evolution of the characters. Allows for insight into the maturation of Jesse and Celine, and especially for those of us who have watched since the beginning, insight into the maturation of ourselves. Regardless of how you feel about the type of people Jesse and Celine have become, the film is still good because it still has to be partially realistic. It has been nine years since we last saw them, and the number of paths for their lives are endless. This is just one of those possibilities.

Left to Right: Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke).
Photo by Despina Spyrou, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
“Before Midnight” has a very different feel to the two films that came before it. It’s no longer just Jesse and Celine. They have kids and they have friends. The latter of which take up a large portion of the movie. The other big change from the previous films is that the 9 years that we spent apart from them, they didn’t spend apart. In both Sunrise and Sunset, Jesse and Celine only saw each other when we saw them. But now they’ve had nine years together and we haven’t. Some of the intimacy is lost.

The point of course is that these people are now in their forties. Life changes. Jesse and Celine are no longer growing together, but growing apart. We have a one hour window into a relationship in shambles. Everybody praises these types of films for being realistic. They must feel there is a shortage of them. I liked how sad they were together; their arguments against one another were more biting but also reasonable.

Like the previous installments, this one is rated R, but this time it’s warranted. Jesse seems to have become even more immature – talking about sex even more than he did as a 23-year-old American. Perhaps it’s the French influence. Celine seems to like have arguments naked. That’s definitely the French influence. Maybe in 9 years time, Jesse can move back to his Texan roots. Allow us to explore how people become more like their original selves the longer they spend away from it.
Best of 2013

Similar Titles:

Newlyweds (2011) - Characters who step out of their relationship and into real life.

Stuck Between Stations (2011) - A relationship drama about the characters and what they have to say.