My rating: 9
IMDB rating: 8.0
IMDB link: Before Midnight
This film is definitely my favourite of the trilogy. We finally see Jesse and Celine together, living normal lives. They have twin daughters and is flying Jesse’s son back and forth because of custody issues. Jesse is now an acclaimed writer and most of his work features Celine as his muse. And first it seems as if they are truly happy as they drive home from the airport, but things are not always what they seem…
It is as if the very things that you love about these characters are the exact same thing that is driving them apart. Celine’s feminism and her fear of domestication causes her to rebel very strongly against Jesse who is still as easy-going as in the first film, but by the third film it seems as if this attitude is the very thing that drives a drift between him and Celine.
While the previous two movies revolved around them, as a couple, exclusively, this movie explores their individuality more intensively. Jesse mixes with his writer friends and often gets caught up in the imaginary worlds he creates, while Celine is grounded and realistic. In that sense it would seem that they complete each other, but it soon becomes clear that these differences start to outweigh the similarities.
Celine, who to me, seems afraid of not only accepting Jesse’s love, but also of living a life of pseudo-happiness. As soon as the going gets tough, she tries to back out, to run away, to literally save herself from a break-up she is always expecting. They also never got married, Celine is a religious sceptic while Jesse is a closet Christian. One is never unsure of Jesse’s commitment, but throughout the film Celine questions it again and again.
The point of this film, to me, is the fact that they are neither happy nor unhappy. They are in a perpetual state of mechanically just leading their lives, trying to juggle two careers and three children. The initial passion that made Celine climb of the train in Vienna has been replaced by a deep-founding love that has to be harvested every now and again. But sometimes it just seems easier to let the love die than to constantly revisit the place you fell in love, the person with whom you fell in love, the promises you made, the compromises you made and the way they still make you feel.
The evolution of the heart as represented by these three films, are some of the most honest work in film. Relationships are explored from not only a romantic basis, but from a philosophical, gender-specific, age-defying, modern perspective that leaves the viewers examining the very premise of their own relationships whether they are romantic or not. This movie is nostalgic, making you laugh and cry (yes I did!!), making you call up the one you laugh and remember the time you got of the train for them.
Want to read more on Before Midnight? Try these…