"BEFORE MIDNIGHT"--MOVIE REVIEW
Thursday, June 20, 2013
When we met Celine (Julie Delpy), a young French woman, and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) a young American, in 1995 ‘s “Before Sunrise” we met a young couple who spent a night in Vienna walking and talking to and about each other just after meeting on a train. Nine years later in “Before Sunset” Jesse, now a married man, has written a best selling book about that evening with Celine, and is in Paris on a book tour. They had lost contact with each other and now 9 years later Celine comes to the Parisian bookstore where he is making an appearance, and Jesse doesn’t make the plane he was suppose to leave on and they spend the day and evening walking and talking in Paris. We learn that he is now married and has a son while she is an environmentalist with a boyfriend she doesn’t see very often. The ending is ambiguous and there wasn’t talk of a third film.
This film in the series opens with Jesse taking his son Hank to the airport after the latter spent the summer with Jesse, Celine and their twin daughters. It has been 18 years since they first met and are now a couple living together, Jesse having divorced his wife, continued his career as a writer while Celine is being tempted by a job which she thinks she could get involved in. Jesse is thinking about he and Celine returning to America so he could be closer to his son but hasn’t discussed it with her yet.
There are three outstanding scenes that will stay with you with the first being when Celine and Jesse are at a dinner, given by the host of the writer’s retreat that they had spent the summer, and their friends. The talk among the six touches a bit on the couple’s problems but what lies underneath comes out later. One of the couples, as a present, leased a hotel room and a massage for two and volunteered to sit the twins. The second outstanding scene is the walk through town that Jesse and Celine take to the hotel. It is the scene that evening in the hotel where they, especially Celine, go at each other that makes the film. It is the accumulation of their life together and what makes it work and what is pulling it apart.
In this chapter in the story Ethan Hawke shines like he has never in any other picture including the two prequels to “Before Midnight”. Whereas Julie Delpy seemed to be the center of the Sunrise and Sunset movies Hawke walks away with this one though each gets equal time and Delpy spends time exposing her breasts in the most natural way.
The director Richard Linklater, who also wrote the screenplay with Hawke and Delpy, draws us into the film, let’s us see that the couple really love each other but have problems as most couples do. The Greek Peloponnese peninsula looks as romantic as it should be adding to the feel of the movie. Will there be a fourth film in 2022 so we can see if this couple will live happily ever after or?