This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Oscar Rosales’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Me while watching the film:
oh my god, oh my god.
Sorry for that rambling, it is simply so hard to put my feelings towards Before Midnight in words. It was both the harshest and yet most satisfying film I’ve seen all year. Breaking the formula was a risky move but it was so effective.
It is a recollection of emotional scenes. In the opening scenes we are introduced to 40 years old Jesse and man, it hurts. Time flies. And then you see him entering the car... with Celine... and their daughters. I couldn’t believe they were finally together. It was as if god Richard Linklater heard all my prayers. Of course that illusion would be shattered in later scenes but still, there always seemed to be hope even when it became really rough.
Then we have a long take that puts Gravity’s to shame. While Gravity’s was a marvel to watch, I personally prefer this one and think is more effective. It is better at (re)introducing us to the characters and feels more realistic. When watching it you don’t feel like watching a film. It feels like a reality show, but not as time-consuming or stupid. Those are adjectives I’ll never use to describe the Before series. My point is, it feels utterly realistic. Hawke and Delpy put excellent performances. They memorize 13 minutes of dialogue and yet it all comes natural. It’s a work of art.
But what really stands out is the hotel room. Heartbreaking. It all starts so well yet it descends into a level of madness. As awkward as listening to your parents fight, there is a feeling of uneasiness in that scene. It has some scary comments about long-term commitment but it never feels cynical. Probably the most painful thing is thay they fight over nothing... I, of course, was siding with Jesse. I actually think Celine was kind of a bitch with him. She was overreacting and he had to put with her bullshit. She used to be the girl of my dreams in Before Sunrise but now she’s the girl of my nightmares. Just kidding, I still love her, but damn. But that’s the beauty of the end. It was so heartwarming. There is still hope.
Before Midnight is the longest of the trilogy but it feels like the shortest, yes, even shorter tan the 80 minutes Before Sunset. It feels like a 40 minutes short film. That is because it is so enchanting and you just want more. I’m in the minority who doesn’t want a fourth one, because the three are already perfect as they are, and because this is such a great conclusion. But who knows. I wouldn’t be botheres to spend more time with this characters...