Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★½

The most internally divisive film of the entire trilogy, I'm uncertain whether it's the strongest or the weakest film of all three. The only certain thing is that it's no where in between. First of all, strangely, as the main subjects in Linklater's ambitious and mentally wide-spanning trilogy mature, this maturation is not always consistent in their surroundings. It might be the fact that Celine and Jesse's life no longer revolves around the two of them, but it certainly can't revolve around everyone they encounter. Linklater's characteristically American, passionate, youthful way of writing does not always hold up as well when spoken by other characters. It often feels a little out of place and artificial. A little fishy, with the consistently meaningful dialogue that is so expedited and everyone has a say.

But here is also where the film derives it's pride quality. The fact that this is so obviously an outlayer in the trilogy, even indicated by the title. It doesn't fit into the world, simply because of the massive changes. And so it makes sense that Jesse and Celine's reality inevitably changes from the consistently romantic "honey-moon" phase. But it also makes sense in meaning of the film. It contextualizes the entire trilogy, anchors the in reality and also makes sense by the level of maturity represented by this specific film, and thereby making its predecessors all the more valuable. And though this film is focused on the natural imperfections of life (a natural point focus of the film as it consistently uncovers imperfections, though a bit more glamorously in the two first films), I was surprised to find that when it was storming at its worst, I found myself feeling the most happy I have felt throughout the entire trilogy. This has to do with the anxiousness resulting from holding on to that perfection, as opposed to the motivation of fighting for it. There really is something beautiful to Celine and Jesse's fights, and I think it's only right that their story as well does not reinforce that idealistic vision of true, fairytale love. 

In style, this film is also a bit of a variant relative to the rest of the series. It throughly embraces that realism, with simple, though beautiful stills. One of the best examples is when Celine walks out of the hotel room and Linklater's camera focuses on the contents of the room, both as evidence and symbols. In conclusion this seems apparent, at this point, as the most flawed entry of the series, but without a doubt the most interesting as well.

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