BEFORE MIDNIGHT: A REVIEW

Big thanks to Salty Kernel, Dara Shashoua, for this fine review – you may notice she is quite passionate about them 🙂 To be honest, I have never seen any of them – but after Lady D’s enthusiasm and review there may be cause for a Before Marathon.

 

Before I begin reviewing this film there are a few things we need to discuss.

 

Before Midnight is the third film by Richard Linklater and the ‘trilogy’ is called the ‘Before’ series, a name I don’t really like.  Moving on

Each film spans 9 years from the last one

They haven’t said No to a fourth film, which would be amazing

The writing process fully involves Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater.  For Before Midnight they locked themselves in a hotel for 10 weeks writing the dialogue.  Yep. 10 weeks

I personally would call these the most realistic romantic films out there. They are real. The dialogue is real. The moment is real.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are excellent at walking and talking and walking and talking, I wonder how long they had to rehearse for?

 

Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight
Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight

 

Having said all of that. I love them, I’ve loved them since 1995, I loved them a little bit more in 2005 and I’m not ashamed to admit that I did a little happy dance in 2013 when I realized that Before Midnight was being released.

Let’s backtrack a little and explain the story to those uninitiated.

 

Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight - Before Sunrise
Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight – Before Sunrise

 

Before Sunrise – released in 1995.

 

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) meet on a train travelling from Budapest to Vienna.  Jesse had spent the last 2 weeks travelling around Europe after having his heart broken and Celine had been visiting her grandmother in Budapest and was returning back to her hometown Paris. This chance meeting prompts Jesse to ask Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna and spend the night walking through Vienna and talking. I do love the line of dialogue that he gives that eventually gets her off the train.

 

Jesse: Alright, alright. Think of it like this: jump ahead, ten, twenty years, okay, and you’re married. Only your marriage doesn’t have that same energy that it used to have, y’know. You start to blame your husband. You start to think about all those guys you’ve met in your life and what might have happened if you’d picked up with one of them, right? Well, I’m one of those guys. That’s me y’know, so think of this as time travel, from then, to now, to find out what you’re missing out on. See, what this really could be is a gigantic favour to both you and your future husband to find out that you’re not missing out on anything. I’m just as big a loser as he is, totally unmotivated, totally boring, and, uh, you made the right choice, and you’re really happy.

Celine: Let me get my bag.

 

Loves it.

They walk and talk their way around the streets of Vienna, you’ll just have to watch it to find out more….

At the end they decide to meet up 6 months later at the station and chose not to exchange details (remember peeps, this is the time before facebook and even email).

 

The End.

 

Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight - Before Sunset
Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight – Before Sunset

 

Before Sunset – released in 2004

 

It’s 9 years later and Jesse has written a book about their evening together. The film opens with Jesse in Paris on a book tour.  As he is answering questions from journalists about his book, the camera pans over and Celine is standing there.  Understandably Jesse wraps up the interview and finds Celine, his agent reminds him that his flight leaves in a few hours and gives him the number of his driver.

And they start walking and talking. They both end up in a coffee shop where it is almost as if 9 years has not passed and they catch up.  Jesse is married with a child and Celine is in a relationship as well.

Eventually they talk about Vienna, we find out that Jesse went back to the station 6 months later but Celine did not show as her Grandmother has passed away and that was the day of the funeral.

Jesse only has a few hours before his flight, but they manage to spend all of that time together catching up, having a meltdown and being genuinely open and honest with each other.

The final scene is that they are in Celine’s apartment, she is dancing along to Nina Simone, Jesse is twirling his wedding ring around his finger and Celine says to him.

“Baby, you’re going to miss the plane”

He says, “I know”

 

The End.

 

Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight
Salty Popcorn Review of Before Midnight

 

Before Midnight – released 2013.

 

Another 9 years has passed and Jesse and Celine are in Greece, the film opens with Jesse having to say goodbye to his son Hank.  After saying goodbye Jesse then walks back to his car where Celine is waiting for him along with their twin daughters who are asleep in the back.

This difference with this film is that Jesse and Celine both have separate interactions with additional characters that have been brought into the film.  Special note here – the lunch scene is not really made up of actors, they are all film peeps and Patrick the host of the lunch and retreat is played by Walter Lassally who has been a cinematographer since 1946 and won an Oscar for Zorba the Greek. This is the first time he has actually been in a film, not working on it.  And he’s just wonderful.

I do think these extra scenes with the additional characters add an extra element to Jesse and Celine, in the past 2 films we have only ever really watched them but this shows the audience how they are as a couple. And it works.  They work.

The strength of these films is that they are totally believable and at times you almost feeling uncomfortable watching the couples interaction.  The arguments they have are what my married friends tell me about their lives.

As you can tell, I loved this film and all of the previous installments as well.  It’s amazing to have watched Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy grow up in front of your eyes, it’s like they are real.

Anyway, enough from me.  I highly recommend watching the 2 previous films before you venture out to see Before Midnight.

 

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