Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Movie Review, Day 16: "Before Midnight"

Day 16
Movie: "Before Midnight"
Ticket Price: $12.00
Showtime: 9:40 pm
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
This is the third installment in the "Before" trilogy; its predecessors are "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," each picking up 9 years later (and actually filmed in 9 year increments).

The first movie follows Jesse and Celine in 1994, who happened to meet on a train bound for Vienna; the two get to talking, and Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train with him. They spend the night wandering the streets of Europe, talking of life, love, heartache, and religion. They have one night of romance and, when Jesse must return to the US, they make a vow to meet again in 6 months in Vienna.

The second movie takes place 9 years later, in 2003; Jesse ended up going back to meet Celine as promised, but she never showed up. Her grandmother had died, so that's why she didn't go to meet him. Jesse has written a book about their one night together and is on a book tour when he sees Celine, who has been searching for him after reading the book. He confesses he is unhappily married with a son, and Celine is in a relationship with a man who is always on assignment. At the end of the movie after, yes, another night together, Jesse stays with Celine instead of returning home to the US; the two start their life together in Europe.

"Before Midnight" shows Jesse and Celine 9 years later, still unmarried but with twins of their own (in addition to Jesse's son Hank from his first marriage). Hank visits them in Europe every summer, but this time when he gets dropped off at the airport, Jesse implied a desire to be closer to his son in Chicago (who has a drunk for a mother and a bad custody agreement in her favor). This is a huge source of strife between the couple, and comes up often in arguments the pair have throughout the movie. Celine is debating taking a better paying government job, a step-up from her current non-profit gig; this also is a huge source of strife between the two.

We've watched this couple grow and evolve over the course of two decades and this film shows that their growth is not without its problems. They are seemingly drifting apart, headed in different directions. She constantly tries to change him while he constantly tries to correct her. It is just as happy as it is maddening and frustrating. It's real, and you believe that these two actors, these two characters, have a deep connection with one another.

The film also delves deeply into the philosophy of life, love, the differences between men and women, and concept of a "fairy tale romance." It's one gigantic conversation, but the content of that conversation is enough to keep viewers engaged, excited, and enraged.

The couple fights. They bicker. They walk. They talk. They connect but then disconnect within the span of 30 seconds. They get romantic. Skittle nerps. They trash talk each other. They go through a spectrum of emotions, just like any normal couple does. It's completely realistic portrayal of how relationships work without all the fluff and sometimes never received pomp and circumstance. It's realistic because it thumbs its nose as the notion of  "and they lived happily ever after."

When the movie ended, we were surprise it was over. It was an hour and 48 minutes long, but it felt like it was gone in a flash. I really hope they make another movie in 9 years to see where the couple end ups, good or bad, happy or sad, together or separated.

Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy; movie contains sexual dialogue and gestures as well as a 5-7 minute nude scene featuring Delpy, and some language, but I really encourage you to watch this trilogy.

My Rating: 7/10
Josh's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.4/10
Do we recommend the movie: Anyone who has ever experienced romance will connect with these movie on some level, so yes, we recommend this film.


  1. I loved the first two (especially the first one) so this is definitely on my to see list.
    Lauren, you seriously write the most amazing reviews. I hope if it's something you want to pursue, you go do it. Serious talent sister.

    1. Thank you very much, it means a lot to me that you said that! I do love writing, even if it's about wax or movies.

      You'll like this one, I think! :)


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