Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★★

Part of THE DECEMBER CHALLENGE
MOVIE #11

The sun rose, the sun set, and now midnight comes. The conclusion to the Before Trilogy is the darkest one yet. It does something daring in American cinema, it destroys one of the most well established and beloved movie couples in movie history. However, there's even beauty in that. Both Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy truly give it their all in this performance, both being the most real and compelling they've been in the entire series. Before Sunset started the question of love in a playful manner, but Before Midnight takes it to a new extreme. Despite this, the film is never pessimistic, and throughout the brisk piece there is still beauty and hope to be found.

Starting with a punch in the gut perfectly tying the open ended ending of Before Sunset into a baggaged knot, the film is, like the others, long conversation pieces. However, never before have the subject materials been more compelling and brutally real. Serious questions are raised on the modern perception of romance and the growing belief that gender roles need to be redefined. The film never sticks to one side and the two clash in compelling banter.

Before Midnight is the ultimate conclusion to the fairy tale-esque love story, shoving an all too happy couple into a real situation they joked about nearly two decades prior. It is an evaluation of the previous films, yet it does not wallow in pity or pessimism. I think now, is this truly the end? Will we see Jesse and Celine again in 2022? Maybe even 2031, 2040, or 2049? Knowing Richard Linklater, I bet the thought has been in his mind for quite some time.