Before Midnight

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

You know I was really with it up until that jarring science fiction twist at the end, Criterion didn’t seem to think so, but it felt really out of left field to me. At least they had Celine as kind of the audience surrogate, asking what the space time continuum was and all that, because I’ll be honest, I was as lost as a basset hound in a hedge maze.

Okay actual review time now.

I feel like me, along with everyone else who has decided to rewatch this trilogy, always wonder if they really have it in them to watch the third film because of how relentlessly charming, romantic, and uplifting the first two films are, but when they eventually conjure up the genitals to watch it again, they are provided with one of the most honest portrayals of the nasty side of co-dependency mixed with (and people seem to forget about this) the romantic hopefulness and passionate poeticism of the first two films.

People I feel don’t connect to this one as much because all of these twentysomething Letterboxd writers could insert themselves into these intellectually stimulating discussions on the nature of romances, or male and female roles in culture and relationships (and I do too, don’t get me wrong), while with this film they see these romantic fantasies turn into their arguing parents. I feel like a lot of times we see the authority figures in our lives and we assure ourselves that we won’t follow them down that beaten path, but what we don’t realize is how easy it can be to slide down that slope, and end up verbally bashing each other’s brains in over something as simple as wanting to make your kid happy. It’s a tough sight to see, but the main thing about it is that it’s not defeatist.

So often you see these people passive aggressively squabbling over things that do not ultimately matter and you wonder if they will ever set aside their egos and just have an actual conversation, and while this film never gives you the satisfaction of seeing whether or not they’ll truly stay together, what it does do is show you that it is possible for them to figure things out, and that they do in fact still love one another, despite each other’s shortcomings.

I think this film, just like the others in the series, is a masterpiece. It captures the essence of staring what could be the end of a relationship in the face and never once bats an eye. It’s a film that is as funny as it is piercing, and as simple as it is painful. Before Midnight is not so much a romantic film, as it is a realistic yet hopeful film, and I think that’s what makes it so special for me.

”If you want true love, then this is it.”

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