musicmoviesme’s review published on Letterboxd:
and yet again, the story continues….
Before Sunrise is what I’d call the “butterflies in the stomach” stage. Before Sunset is the “getting to commit” stage.
Before Midnight gives us a realistic view of “married life with kids”.
Previously, Jesse and Celine’s reunion in Before Sunset was filled with past emotional baggage. For Jesse, it took the form of a son he fathered in a loveless marriage. He also had unresolved feelings that he and Celine somehow missed their greatest chance with each other when they failed to exchange phone numbers.
"Before Midnight" took me by surprise unexpectedly. It elicits the “whys.” It tests the notion of "true love" amidst the bumpy road of married life, and it shows that marriage is more about committed choices rather than “happy ever after”; that compromise tempers the rough patches.
“Before Midnight” is an emotional transformation, and a fairly smart transformation at that. In my opinion, it is also the most candid, direct to the point, most tense and emotionally charged, and best performed of the three films. I know some may disagree with me on this, but the maturity level of the way they’ve executed their roles truly shines here. You can feel their frustrations, their pent-up anger, their opposing views, the emotional upheavals along with their insecurities as doubts start to rear its ugly head in their marriage.
Before Midnight strikes me as the most "realistic" of all, hence it projects the most impact on me although Before Sunset is the best. Celine’s excitable traits she manifested in "Before Sunrise" are enhanced by the juggling tasks between parenthood, career goals and satisfying Jesse’s personal desires.
I've been ruminating about their breaking point argument in my head, and I see each of them has perfectly valid points of view. It’s so realistic just like how real-life married couples encounter real life troubles. There’s no more sugarcoating here.
Each of the three movies punctuates on a legitimate question, however in Before Midnight, their problems carry so much gravitas because they now have to think outside their own self-desires. The way I look at it as a whole is that it’s not a matter of "Will they live happy ever after?" rather more of a "How can they live happy ever after?"