Before Midnight

Before Midnight ★★★★

Before Trilogy complete. See my review for Before Sunrise here and Before Sunset here.

Now that I've seen all three films, I think Richard Linklater's Before Trilogy is one of the best love stories ever put on film. I'm not prepared to call it the best, but it's right up there and certainly debatable as the best. These films are like onscreen chemistry 101. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy play Jesse and Celine like they're playing themselves. Through three movies nearly decades apart their chemistry is like magic. It may be the best casting of an onscreen couple ever! I'm very happy I decided to give this trilogy a chance after I hated the first film years ago. It proved to be a wise decision and a wonderful experience.

Catching up with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) again around 9 years later, we learn they're still together with twin daughters and on vacation in Greece. Jesse is dealing with a disconnect he feels from his son after sending him home to Chicago where he lives with his mother. Jesse and Celine's storybook romance like most relationships has had it's ups and downs. We again get a glimpse of their lives with their perspectives on life, love, commitment, and long-term relationships.

This could be any relationship. Sure not everyone gets to live in Paris and travel all over Europe, but I mean the basics of it. The way Linklater explores Jesse and Celine's relationship over such a long period is extremely well done. The first two installments of this trilogy give us their relationship when it's still new. Once the decision is made that they'll be together it changes both of their lives forever. We all have baggage that we bring into a relationship, and those that last are the ones best equipped to put up with each other's bullshit. These two obviously still love each other but as with anything life can get in the way and more often than not it does. When it comes to relationships many are bad and the best you can hope for is a good one. Perfect ones only exist in storybooks so staying together takes work. Unlike the first two films we finally see Jesse and Celine fight. I mean really fight over big shit. It's strangely refreshing because it solidifies how real it all felt to me.

I mentioned it in my reviews for the previous films but the chemistry Hawke and Delpy have is magic. If there were some type of onscreen duo lifetime achievement award these two would win it hands down. Their acting is as close to perfection as you can get. I don't think these films would have worked as well with any other actors because this kind of chemistry is very rare. Linklater couldn't have hoped for better if he'd just filmed a real couple. It truly is something to behold and it's what makes these films so damn good.

Getting over my initial hate of the first film lead to one of my best re-watches and one of the best trilogies out there. It's a story of love I won't soon forget and one I'd recommend to everyone. Walking and talking has never been more interesting and entertaining.

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