Before Midnight


Review by Lucia Santiago Dantes

It is hard to believe 18 years had passed since we saw for the first time we saw Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in the cinematic world created by Richard Linklater. The third and i guess final installment of the more romantic and enduring couple in film so far.
The first film “Before Sunrise” (1995) was the first one. The film follows an american boy Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and a french girl, Celine. They meet on a train and feel attracted and start to talk during the trip, they both decide to do something crazy: step out the train in Vienna and spend the night together walking around the city. It is a very romantic movie but the reason of its success its the smart dialogue and almost surrealistic scenario. Indeed a romantically magical film to watch.

The second was Before Sunset (2004) 9 years passed by already and Jesse wrote a novel inspired on that night in Vienna and meeting Celine. The book is a best seller. Jesse travel to Paris promoting his book and among the public finds Celine smiling at him. They are both now in his early 30s and Jesse is married while Celine has a boyfriend. They are both dissatisfied with their relationships. This time they spend the afternoon talking. Celine and Jesse ends up in Celine’s apartment talking and listening to music.

Before Midnight might be the last of the movies. It’s been 9 years after Celine and Jesse reunited again in Paris. They live in the States now and have twin girls.  Jesse are married and now that romance is over, the story and dialogue focus on long term commitment relationships as well as marriage and basically sorting out their life as a couple. Jesse also has a boy and he’s struggling to keep him close to have a better relationship with his son but it’s hard as he lives with his ex-wife far away. Celine has her own demands and complains about their marriage while Jesse behaves stoic and willing to let the problems air. As I said before its all about love and long term relationships.

I loved the 3 stories and although it is not necessary to watch them, it helps to understand the characters. For those who already watched the previous films it is nice to reencounter the same idealistic characters growing up and dealing with real life, not-so-complicated love stories.  After all these years the characters are still genuine and still have the same deep thoughts they had, seasoned with age wisdom. The script and dialogues for the second and last movie was a collaboration among  Linklater, Hawke and Delpy.


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