© Prokino (FOX)

Before Midnight
U.S.A. 2013

Opening 6 Jun 2013

Directed by: Richard Linklater
Writing credits: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Kim Krizan
Principal actors: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior

This romantic drama shows one day in the life of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy), who fell in love 18 years before in Vienna in Before Sunrise and came together in Paris nine years later in Before Sunset. Now they are spending a vacation in Greece. Again, the story is told almost in real time. It begins with Jesse taking his son from his previous marriage to the airport and goes on while Jesse and Céline get into a conversation on their way back from the airport. They now have twins, Jesse is writing another book and Céline is thinking about working for the government. Their summer home is a writer’s retreat where they share a lunch with other guests and friends. While the conversation goes on, the people present throw in their ideas about love, sex and relationships: do soul mates exist? Is the idea of everlasting love still valid? Is the hunger for life more important than passionate love? Jesse and Céline continue to explore these questions concerning their own relationship while they walk to a hotel in which they are going to spend the night without their kids. It is now that the question they have been circling this whole day becomes unavoidable: Are they still happy with each other?

In order to find that answer, they accuse each other and fight in a way that feels very “real.” Jesse wants to have a “rational” conversation with Céline, who, in turn, appears to be moody and not to know what she really wants.

I was a romantic 16-year-old when I first saw Before Sunrise. And in spite of “life,” I could still believe in a real connection between people in Before Sunset at 24. In Before Midnight I was expecting to see this connection mature despite some issues. But while Céline accuses Jesse of still being a teenager, she is just about the same.

People are not perfect and true love is no fairytale. I totally agree. Yet, I refuse to believe the model of fighting, making up and not really talking is just “reality.” So what I liked most about this movie is to see my own reaction towards the characters in the course of 18 years and to realize that fortunately, there are other contemporary movies, like Take this Waltz, dealing with the impact of time on a relationship in a more responsible and mature way.

Please also see www.kinocritics.com/article.php?ar=592 and www.kinocritics.com/article.php?ar=593 for a report on Before Midnight from the 2013 Berlinale as well as additional reviews. (Katia Trost)

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