I love Richard Linklater’s Before films. The films indulge my sometimes neglected romantic side and I care so much about the fates of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy).
So we meet up with Jesse and Celine nine years after the events of Before Sunset. They are together with twin daughters and are at the end of their summer holiday in Greece. Jesse’s son Hank has just returned home to his mother (Jesse’s ex-wife) in America. After spending some time with their daughters and friends they spend an evening finally alone where old issues resurface.
Ok first off I admit this film won’t appeal to everyone. Two characters talking about themselves for 109 minutes may not sound all that enticing. But that is the skill and the power of the Before films is that it isn’t boring at all. I adore watching these characters talk about their lives, dreams and regrets. Hawke and Deply have amazing chemistry that continues in this film even though they argue a lot more in this installment.
There is also a slight change in the format of Before Midnight, there’s a whole dinner scene where other people talk as well! Shocking! Luckily this helps push the story forward and brings up the issues between Jesse and Celine in a way that doesn’t seem forced.
While the other films were romantic love and whether Jesse and Celine will get together, Before Midnight is about what kind of love a long-term couple have and whether Jesse and Celine will stay together. As well as the usual sweet moments we expect from Jesse and Celine we all also have long scenes of arguments between the two, throwing up bitterness, resentment and other problems couples go through. It does feel like you are intruding on a couple’s fight and I’m sure some people in the audience will find the scenes uncomfortably familiar.
I would give the film’s previous installments Before Sunrise and Before Sunset five stars each as they are some of my favourite all time films. For some reason Before Midnight is not quite a five-star film, maybe because I prefer the more romantic feel of the first two films but it is still an amazing film with an excellent script and five-star performances from Hawke and Deply.
I’d happily catch up with Jesse and Celine every nine years to see where one of my favourite cinematic couples end up.