Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★★

What can be said about this film that hasn't already been said? It's absolutely the finest example of romantic cinema today, and the three films as a whole... the finest examples of romantic cinema since the 40s (yes, that's when Casablanca came out.)

Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy have written what I think will end up being considered the criterion standard of cinematic relationship exploration.

Our favorite couple Jessie and Celine are back, nine years after their fateful rekindling in France, and finally together as a couple. And as a family... Yes, they have two young twin girls, and with that comes all the familiar joys of parenthood that you'd expect a early 40-something couple would have. They have friends in Greece who they have spent 2 months with, and it's about time to get back to their daily lives.

Now, admittedly, I'm still a mid-twenties guy who just got married last summer, so the conversations that this film portrays shouldn't necessarily ring true to me. The great thing that these films do, however, and this one in particular, is highlight the universal themes of relationships and (in this one) friendships. One doesn't have to have to be in their forties to understand the strain having children puts on a relationship, and the dynamics of their parenting skills are, while a bit cliched, just so damn true.

And I must say, this film is significantly funnier than the past two. Not that it's a romantic comedy, but really, the pure joy, wonderful dialogue, and honest commentary of long term love during the first three quarters of the film is full of fantastic comedy. One would think being at a dinner table with several couples, at pretty much each stage of love (the early years, the mid-stage love, and those separated by death) would be somewhat trite and pretentious, but it's so so not. It's absolutely refreshing and fascinating.

My wife walked out saying she liked this one better than the second, but she still liked the first more. To me, I just can't stack these in any order. They are a three-chapter book that need each other. Sure you can watch the first one and leave it at that... sure you could watch the first two and leave it at that. But there's so much more to learn, to love, and to treasure, so if you've gotten that far... go a little further. It's worth every minute of your time and effort.

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