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Before Midnight Review; Is Love Enough?

This trilogy of movies takes you through the emotional ups and downs of belief in a fairy tale romance that is torn into the truth of reality and life and it’s trials and tribulations. The film reunites director Linklater with his two actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, who, as Celine and Jesse, had their first brief encounter on a Vienna-bound train in Before Sunrise (1995).

before midnight reviewThe original movie takes you through the love at first site moments as they spend the entire night together finding out who each other is and falling into love. But it leaves you asking yourself can one night of passion between 2 people remain in their hearts forever and will they meet again as planned.

In the second film, Before Sunset (2004), they met again when Celine, back in her native country France, turns up at a bookshop to see Jesse reading from his first novel, the story of The Girl Who Got Away, a book about meeting a girl on a train and falling in love. The movie goer finds out that Jesse and Celine never met after their night in Vienna and both had moved on with their lives. The ending left their relationship tantalizingly poised: would Jesse go back to his wife and son in the US, or make a fresh start with his lost love Celine?

Before Midnight answers that question.

The initial scene with Jesse dropping his son off at the airport sets the tone for the entire movie. The fairy tale romance and love from the initial 2 movies has dissipated and life and it’s realities has drained the passion from the relationship between Jesse and Celine.

A lunch held by their Greek hosts and friends – each of the three other couples represent the ages. The owner of the retreat and his partner are old, at the endpoint of life; the middle-aged couple are Jesse and Celine’s near future; the young couple are the hopefulness they’ve left behind. All the assembled appear more content and in love than Jesse and Celine. Almost as if the problems in their relationship is insurmountable.

They are gifted a night away from their twin daughters to rekindle their romance by one of the couples at lunch. However, what was supposed to be a night filled with love making and a break from being parents turns into a back and forth of serious doubts and problems between them. The joy and romance of the earlier movies has dissolved, and a bleaker, more melancholic tone predominates the conversation between the two.

Jesse and Celine always had a passionate but fragile bond, and the way they stare at a slow-sinking sun towards the end (“still there… still there… gone”) casts an questionable haze over what their future holds.

If you are looking for a feel good romantic movie where you leave the theater believing in fairy tales and perfect relationships then this movie is not for you. But if you are looking for a movie that addresses the real life problems that people have in relationships, divorce, custody battles and how life’s journey and children can drain the passion and dreams from you then this movie’s truth will be a breath of fresh air.

We all want to believe in true love and that it is all that matters to hold two people together, but the reality of the situation is sometimes no matter how much you care about someone all of what life throws at you can little by little cause the flame of passion that you once had to go out.

At the end of Before Midnight, you are left wondering will they be able to rekindle that flame or will this be the fork in the road for Jesse and Celine, each travelling down their own path?

Enjoy the Before Midnight Trailer

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