Aronne Ibarra’s review published on Letterboxd:
And so I can add another trilogy I finished in one day, and might I say one of the best ever made. The Before trilogy has taken me and many of us on a ride of romance, hope, heartbreak, and life itself. The third and final film, Before Midnight, was released in 2013, nearly two decades after the first installment. While I think that this is the weakest of the three films, it's still an outstanding work and it provides much-needed closure on the story of Jesse and Celine. Mildly depressing, too.
After reconnecting in Paris after nine years, Jesse and Celine end up together once more and they have twin daughters. However, Jesse is still concerned about missing out on the formative teenage years of his son with his legal wife. If Before Sunrise was about slowly falling in love and Before Sunset was getting back in love again, then Before Midnight is about that love gradually falling apart.
While they aren't officially married, Jesse and Celine are raising their kids and living the married life, currently on a trip to Greece. They've become parents and while all lovers dream of starting a family, the demands and the fatigue that comes with those demands start to spoil the honeysweet romance of the two characters that has been built up by the last two films.
Early on, we already get a vibe that so much time has passed and everything's a lot more modern and automated. Change is a primary theme in any story and it's a big one in the Before trilogy. Change is about time, perspective, energy, vitality, and love. Our discontentment with the impermanence of youth and feelings we once had haunt us and distract us from the fact that despite all this change, everything will be okay if we believe so. We keep finding ways to be happy, to be romantic, to be in love with life and its spontaneity, and why shouldn't we? I mean it's the only thing we can do as the progression of time makes us lose space for ourselves and the things we want to do.
It's not easy to channel the cool and casual American guy or the headstrong and free-spirited French girl when you've got kids, a job, and other shit to take care of. It's sad our romantic escapism-- roaming free about the streets of Vienna and Paris-- always leads to a boring and tedious domestic life trapped in the corners of a house.
If this is what young love will lead to, why bother falling in the first place? The story of Jesse and Celine proves that love will get old and boring and restricting, but true love never fails to inspire and give meaning, even in the worst of days. Ever since getting out of that train in Vienna 18 years ago, Jesse and Celine sought adventure and the best of life. 18 years later, it's by only doing the same that will save them. Fairytales end but it's always possible to write a new one; the sun will rise, set, disappear, and rise again. And there you have arguably the best love story ever told in cinema.
I feel like I fell in love as these two characters did and that's the magic of the Before trilogy. The ability to be so real, honest, intimate, and inspiring can be credited to the brilliant direction and writing of one Richard Linklater and the unparalleled chemistry of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. These three made my day. The Before trilogy is an achievement lovingly made and deservedly adored in return by lots of people. This is bare-bones cinema at its best and most effective. Two people talk, walk, and fall in love; it's just a beautiful thing, what more can I add?
All three films are the only films I've seen from Linklater. He's a terrific writer and director and I'm excited for a number of his works. What he's accomplished with this trilogy is incredible. The emotion, the authenticity, the continuity, the power, the grandeur, the adventure, and the amount of effort to produce such great films time and time again deserves all the applause in the world. We see these people grow, feel and think with them, and forget we're watching a movie. Honestly, I can't think of a better day and better set of films that go together so well. I don't have a girlfriend but I don't feel alone at all this Valentines because I literally experienced love watching Jesse and Celine. I'm proud of myself for this one.
All three films are special. I like Sunset most, followed by Sunrise, and finally this one, Midnight. What is your favorite film from the romance trilogy? If you have not seen this trilogy yet, do yourself a favor.
That is all for today, everyone! Finished another trilogy and though I'm feeling like I want more, things were wrapped up very nicely. I may take a daylong break tomorrow but we'll see.
Thank you for reading all the reviews I put out today and I love y'all! Take care and stay safe!