Before Midnight (2013)

August 04, 2013 By Mike B
Movie Review

Before Midnight Film Review

What Worked?

Love is a messy, long struggle sprinkled with fairy tale moments that often times make relationships worth it. If you’ve found someone that you can talk to about anything, can share your humility with, and can make you smile, hold on. That is exactly what Jesse and Celine did right after we left them in Before Sunset where “I know” became one of the most romantic lines in a film. Richard Linklater takes a peek at Jesse and Celine’s relationship nine years later in Before Midnight, as they have twin daughters and continue to share a spark despite time trying to rip them at the seams. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine, and slip into their characters as comfortably as lullabies.

Linklater, along with the help of Hawke and Delpy, write another wonderful screenplay that captures the hardships of being in a long-term relationship. The dialogue is so pure, and so smart that it truly becomes a spectacle to behold. The beauty of Greece lends itself to the connection between Jesse and Celine, as they walk around and share their thoughts about life, about each other, and about love.  Almost the entire movie is of two people talking, and it’s just so engaging that it works, just like the past two films.

Hawke and Delpy as Jesse and Celine are once again perfect in their roles. It’s not just that they’ve recaptured the essence of their characters, but they’ve slipped into older versions of them perfectly. Hawke and Delpy still have chemistry, and hold their conversations with genuine investment into what they say and how they act that you’re completely placed in the moment. Delpy truly stands out as Celine in this film, as she portrays a spontaneous woman diluted to a woman of motherly duties quite naturally. They’re chemistry is so strong that even when they’re going toe-to-toe with each other you root for them anyway because you want to believe that they can make it; as if they’re the couple you aspire to be, and if they can’t do it, hope dwindles for many others.

Jesse and Celine are trying to rekindle a flame they sparked two decades ago in Before Midnight, and it’s heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time.  It presents love and a relationship in the real world, and manages to give you hope, even in chaos. Love is definitely not a fairy tale, but Jesse and Celine prove that you don’t have to let reality ruin that fact all the time; just hop into your time machine.

Potential Drawbacks:

If you don’t like dialogue-driven films, this movie is probably going to make you cringe and roll around in your seat. It’s all dialogue. Viewers that do not enjoy films that speak about love and relationships from different perspectives, or ones that give you a genuine look into a relationship, than this will be a pure horror.

Film Recommendations:

Before Sunrise

Before Sunset

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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