Before Midnight (2013)

“I fucked up my whole life because of the way you sing.”
―Jesse, Before Midnight.

I remember watching Before Sunset in early 2000s, a happy accident since i borrowed the wrong film from the video rental in my neighborhood. I was smitten with the love that Jesse and Celine shared in that train and in Vienna. While the title of the film did  not etched in my brain, i never forget the feeling i had when i watched the film. I’ve only watched the second film a few years ago, I think only after meeting N from SheSpeaksMovies (she’s my walking IMDb :D), i realized that the film i watched years ago had a sequel. Naturally, i enjoyed the sequel as well, and after it ends i could not help but wonder if in 9 years (after the 2nd film was released, whether Linklatter, Delpy, and Hawke will return to the screen and deliver the aftermath of the ending in Before Sunrise. And now in 2013, the love story carries on to Before Midnight. For those of you who never seen the predecessors, i advise you to find the earlier films first, i think it would be more beneficial to understand the history of Jesse and Celine :)

We finally meet Jesse and Celine again during their vacation in Greece, 9 years after they reconnect in Paris, 18 years after their initial meeting in Vienna. We remember the two as they fall in love for the first time and again when they rekindle their romance. Personally i did not expect to have a third film, so when N told me that Before Midnight was in production i was so thrilled, just to reunite with these two lovable characters and Linklater are enough reason to be excited about the film. Before Midnight is quite different than the two predecessor. For one, this is where the two characters embark in a more mature stage of relationship. They are not falling in love, or have a this idealized concept of love and romance, so it is interesting to see the two seeing love in a different perspective. Jesse and Celine are no longer young and newly in love, they are parents now to their own of twin daughters Ella and Nina. Jesse is still struggling in adapting his role as an estranged father to his son, Hank, who stays with his ex-wife in Chicago. While Celine seems to stumble as she balances her role as a mother and wife to her career and life aspiration. The two found themselves asking questions about themselves and each other and how their partnerships fare so far and what would happen in the future.

In the first third of the film we saw Jesse and Celine interacts with a group of writers and their respective spouses exchanging tales and stories. I think this is the first time we see the two of them as a part of a larger group, with another characters, not just the two of them alone. Their interactions with other characters are interesting to see, because we witness the gap in their characters just like what we saw when people act in front/behind other people. But fret not, when we finally had Jesse and Celine all to ourselves, we rekindle with their banter at each other. An effortless dialogue exchange courtesy of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy themselves, like we had in Before Sunset. Richard Linklater decision to allow these actors wrote for their characters made the exchange seems more fluid and natural, lending that sense of realism and unmistakable chemistry, something that fan of the series definitely  crave. Consists of long takes as we follow the conversations between Jesse and Celine we were reacquainted and become more emphatic. Our two lover definitely mature, as evident in their physicality, with wrinkled and plumped with age, that made the two very acessible and relatable, but still beautiful at the same time.

The film strength definitely lies in the magnetism of the characters and their chemistry. As we follow the two through very long takes, it’s almost we have a voyeuristic privilege to share their most private moments. Delpy and Hawke easy, conversational dialogue brought the audience an intimacy that is hard to duplicate by any other film. Emotionally engaging without being overwhelmed by dramatic, smart humorous wit against ugly insecurities, the film itself is a balancing act of emotions on a very delicate edge. Carefully aided by beautiful Greece backdrop and charming musical accompaniment, we witness what become of that love of Jesse and Celine, as it mature and nurtured after the 9 years span of their lives.

Jesse and Celine are the most darling couple i’ve ever seen on screen. Through Before Midnight, once again we have a glimpse of their love story, through their intimate conversations and the chemistry of the actors, just like what the predecessors promised us.What a lovely follow up to their beautiful tale… Now, will we see them again in 9, 18, 27 years or is this the finale of Jesse and Celine? I actually don’t mind either way :)

“Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.”


GENRE Drama, Romance 
DIRECTOR Richard Linklater | PRODUCER Richard Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Sara Woodhatch | WRITER Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy | MUSIC Graham Reynolds | CINEMATOGRAPHER Christos Voudouris | EDITOR Sandra Adair | STUDIO Castle Rock Entertainment | DISTRIBUTOR Sony Pictures Classic | COUNTRY United States | BUDGET $12 million | RUNNING TIME 109 minutes | RATING R for nudity/sexual content and language | RELEASE January 20, 2013 (Sundance), May 24, 2013 (limited release), June 14, 2013 (wide release)
STARRING Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Stills are partially from IMDb | Official Site | Trailer


3 thoughts on “Before Midnight (2013)

  1. Pingback: Monthly Digest: 2013 July 2013 | kinema kinema to karamel

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