"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."
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Screenplay by: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Starring: Ethan Hawke (Jesse), Julie Delpy (Celine)
Running Time: 109 mins
"Still there. Still there. Still there. Gone."
In Before Sunrise we have seen a youthful, almost reckless view of life and love, and while I have been kind of annoyed with Jesse in that film, I fell in love with them. The ending felt so perfect despite the ambiguousness of it because you know that that is how it really should have ended. In Before Sunset, I was 100% drawn in. The emotions are controlled, the non-verbals are superbly executed, and you see Jesse & Celine jaded, filled with regrets, battling the "what ifs" in their minds, eyes opened to the fact that they were so wrong to believe in their youthful romanticism that a love (or connection) like that could happen more than once in their lives, and they are finally matured enough to know that they have to make the decision whether to do something about it or not.
If you haven't watched this film yet, please be warned. SPOILERS ALERT!
And nine years later after Celine sang that song for Jesse (which according to him, her singing fucked up his life LOL), we are presented with Before Midnight. Somehow, I couldn't imagine how Linklater could recapture the magic & the wit of the previous films. It's hard to fathom, how a third movie could at least be on par with the two films that were both crafted to near-perfection. But he did it. Linklater, Delpy, & Hawke did it again. Granted that we see a less romantic mood and a more different Jesse & Celine, but to me, it all worked so well and I found myself totally engrossed and laughing at their conversations. Like Jesse said, this is true love, it's real life. It's not a fairy tale that's all flowers and good ambience, with the handsome prince & the perfect princess. No. Linklater gave us the reality of Jesse & Celine. And how true love takes work, sacrifices, lost dreams, and putting up with each other's whining and shortcomings.
This trilogy is like fine wine, it gets better with maturity and that is evident with the lead characters. Julie Delpy never fails to amaze me with her acting and she just keeps getting better, and of course Ethan Hawke gives an equally powerful portrayal of Jesse. I can't express how sublime this movie is but all I can say is it's handled perfectly. The writing, the acting, the direction, the shots - beautiful and smart.
I was momentarily taken aback by the path this film has taken, I mean seeing Delpy walking around the room topless is kind of surprising enough, and then we see them argue and hurl insults after insults, trying to see who gets angrier. The third one is different. And I love it. Although the ending to me has the most ambiguous feel than the previous two. Why? First of all, nothing gets really resolved. Yes they have reconciled and the way Celine joked with Jesse again obviously means that she once again will try to work things out. That this is her real life, her true love. But Jesse's issue with his son, and Celine's issues with her career won't go away. What will happen a few days or weeks later when those feelings resurface? Who will compromise? Will they go to Chicago? Will they stay in Paris? Will the idea of true love be enough glue to hold them together? I would love to think that all ends well, but somehow seeing them really angry, either at each other, or most likely at themselves, hints at me that a joke and a "letter from the future" won't easily fix it. And that won't disappear. But maybe they will work it out. Who knows. Maybe Jesse reminding Celine of their love at the time that it was purest is enough for them to figure out what to do. Maybe we'll find out nine years later haha.
|this shot, with that music. wow. I felt it all. All that in one shot of a soggy teabag in a cup of water turning cold. =D|
The Verdict:I've said before that Before Sunset is a perfected formula of Before Sunrise, and I think that Before Midnight is the perfected formula of both Sunrise & Sunset. Every reaction, expression, movement, feel so spontaneous and improvised, but you know that it's not. This is a well-crafted, well-planned, and very well-written film. It makes you think, makes you laugh, affects you in a way a good movie should. The photography/cinematography is beautiful. The music, poignant. Delpy is amazing. Hawke looks more fresh than he looked in Sunset. The magic is still there... still there... still there... and definitely not gone.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Here are my Before Sunrise & Before Sunset reviews, if you wanna check them out.
Do you think there should be another "Before" film after this? If yes, what do you think is a good title?
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