Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Synopsis: We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.
The third part in the series, following Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Literally eighteen years have passed since the first one, so Jesse and Celine are in a totally different place to where they were in 1995. Back then, they just met on a train and spent the day walking around Vienna. Nine years later they hooked up in Paris, and now nine years on from that they are in a long term relationship with twin girls. And just like any normal couple, they aren’t terribly happy.
And here lies the beauty of these movies. They are just so real. I sat on the sofa with Jenna (my wife) watching this on Saturday night and we were both smiling to ourselves and laughing at how ridiculously accurate these characters are, and how close they are to us!
These movies aren’t for everyone. There is A LOT of talking and precious little of anything else. No drama other than the drama of real peoples lives. But isn’t that where stories come from in the first place? In which case, Richard Linklater has come up with one of the best trilogies ever made. These films are just so engaging. You get lost in them and by the end of Before Midnight you really feel you know both Jesse and Celine. You might not always like them (Jesse can be a bit conceited at times, Celine is a typical fiery French woman) but you do root for them.
I hope, in nine years time, when I will be roughly the same age as Jesse is in this movie (whisper it, early forties) I will hear that there will be another chapter in the ‘Before’ saga, because they are genuinely works of honest art. They are clearly a labour of love for Linklater, Hawke and Delpy, who all wrote the script together. Some of the shots of them walking and talking are so long, with no cut shots or edits whatsoever, that the acting that goes into it is really impressive.
I thought this film capped the trilogy off perfectly (for now!) and I would recommend these films to anyone who hasn’t seen them before.