Before Midnight (2013)



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Before Midnight is the third movie in the Rich Linklater trilogy, preceded by Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. We pick up with Jesse, Ethan Hawke, saying goodbye to his son from his ex-wife at an airport in Greece. He leaves the terminal to find Celine, Julie Delpy, waiting at their car and watching over their twin girls. We get right back into the dialog as the family drives to the estate they have been spending the summer at. We find out that Jesse wrote another book recapping the events of Before Sunset. He was invited to summer with a famous author and got a reluctant Celine to go along with it.

Unlike the first two movies, there is more dialog with other characters. Celine helps in the kitchen with other female residents of the estate while Jesse pitches book ideas to the other male guests and the owner. We also get a wonderful, three-generation, conversation around the dinner table. Having other people talk felt a little out of place for me but it informed the story. It was a choice Linklater made and turned out to be a good one.

The most perfect marriages, or partnerships as Celine and Jesse are not married, have their struggles. There are always times when you want to walk out the door and never look back. Like the other two movies, this is an accurate look at life. Jesse proposes moving to Chicago to be closer to his son, but that is not compatible with Celine’s life. She is already struggling with six weeks in Greece away from her job.

Jesse and Celine have been gifted a night in a hotel in town away from the girls. Their lovemaking session is interrupted by a phone call from Jesse’s son, which sets off another fight. This time Jesse is defending his ex-wife after Celine attacks her. More dialog ensues as we come to expect. Jesse makes some valid points but deflates his arguments by being an ass with other things he says. Celine seems to be spiraling and has abandoned reason, she does not want to decide or have the conversation about moving. It is a great look behind the curtains of our favorite love story and reveals more depth than we have seen in the previous two movies.

Richard Linklater closes the trilogy with Jesse cheering Celine up as we all rely on our partner to do. These three movies are a wonderful package. Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy struggled to find funding and distribution for this film. While all three are critically acclaimed they are cult hits and have not been a big financial payoff. I am so happy Linklater was able to complete this series. It is a unique concept that I don’t think will be duplicated anytime soon. As I said in my other reviews, watch all three of these in short order and experience a wonderful love story that everyone should be able to relate to multiple times in their lives.

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©2019 by Sean Whitehurst