Directed by Richard Linklater.
Written by Linklater, Hawke and Deply.
Before Sunrise - Before Sunset - Before Midnight.
Is this really the last one? Is it really?
Watching Before Midnight my feeling is I simply don’t want it to end, not at all. I want every scene to be an endless one. Here’s why:
Every single sequence of this film feels like a perfect universe, each one is as good as the previous, for many reasons, like for instance, they’re fluid and balanced. They’re perfectly consistent with everything else - the consistency in the continuity of the films and their story; the consistency of Jesse and Celine; the consistency of this chapter alone, on his own a really good storytelling.
The story of Jesse and Celine has almost twenty years. In this film, you see a father saying goodbye to his son in the airport after the successful summer vacations. Then he comes back to his other children and his partner. And through a long sequence, they present their current lives to us. Jesse and Celine are together and they share children with each other, twins. Not only we become aware of their familiar interaction but we are also presented to their current problem, which will be the main conflict for the rest of the story. Then there’s also the introduction to the space, their surroundings and their friends.
Before Midnight, always running through the veins of its previous roads brings an intimate and authentic depth about spending a life together and having kids. Of course in the middle, there is plenty of space for the discussions of the current states of love and friendship and relationships. Through their time spent with us, we listen both the male and the female perspectives. So in the morning we are divided between the men and the female spaces, with the men talking and the women doing lunch. At lunch the perceptions on relationships and love takes its natural and honest course, both with the female and male versions, but also from the youth and from the elderly. They’re practical, authentic and heartbreaking in their own distinctive ways. In the afternoon, through a walk between the roads of the Greek island, we are presented to this couple in his early forties looking back to what their lives as been made of so far. Like a look back and a resume of what they are today, but also touching some notions of how they’re presenting themselves to the future. While they discuss, they never stop informing us, but it’s always so subtle, so balanced and natural. Like the fact that they’re not a married couple. It is always so well written. Late in the night comes what might be considered the painful truth.
One of the reasons why this is such an accomplished tale, and compelling at all times, is that you’re never tired of hearing them; even if it’s a drama, you have a huge smile on your face throughout the entire time, including laughs. Jesse and Celine are real. This film never stops being charming, never stops being relevant and truthful. At times goofy, at times philosophical, at times romantic, at all times entertaining.
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are vivid, sometimes even heartbreaking, but always amusing. The film has beautiful locations, beautiful images. It’s everything I would hope for, except I could never imagine it would be this way - this beautifully compelling way.
And then when Before Midnight ended it was nearly midnight!