Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★★

FILM # 11-DECEMBER CHALLENGE 2

If you watch the best film of the year in January, it's all downhill from there. Even though I loved the first two installments of this majestic trilogy, I somehow missed this at the cinema. I've waited months for the DVD release of this and I wasn't disappointed.
Matt's Challenge was one of the highlights of my film viewing experiences from last year. It was fun, even a little manic at times, but I loved the experience and couldn't wait for this year. Of all the films that I had lined up for the challenge this was the one I was most looking forward to. Richard Linklater's dialogue heavy trilogy has featured tremendous performances from all involved. Adding a few more characters to this one did make for an interesting interlude from the main protagonists. That said, this is still all about Jesse and Celine, one of the most natural screen couples ever. That's the secret to these films, the interaction between Hawke and Delpy has an honesty that is just so refreshing in a sea of cliched romantic trash that the big studios pump out relentlessly. The writing helps. Give good actors something classy to work with and you can see it grow in front of your eyes, Linklater must have been the luckiest director around when he bagged these two for three films spanning nearly twenty years. That youthful exuberance may well have faded and Delpy's character does say some awfully hurtful things here, but it remains as honest a portrayal of a love story as you can get. Both actors maintain that energy and integrity they've brought together on screen twice before. It's thoughtful and absorbing just as I'd hoped for. Love and commitment are two of the most powerful things that help bind people together. There are fractures here, it's plain to see, but Jesse's unconditional love for Celine seems to heal the wounds their insensitive words have broached.
Love and relationships never run smooth. They are more like this that we care to imagine. These movies mean a lot to me, they've helped perk me up when skies are grey and I'm insecure. My wife isn't Julie Delpy, but in a way she's my Julie Delpy, flaws and all. This is modern romance, warts and all, and I loved it.

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