BEFORE MIDNIGHT [2013] movie review

December 20, 2013 · Print This Article

It only occurred to me while watching this third movie in the Jesse & Celine story, BEFORE MIDNIGHT [2013], that I am basically the same age they are and how my own life beats have been somewhat in tune with theirs.  I actually was planning to never watch this movie because I hold BEFORE SUNRISE [1995] in such high regard in my memory, and that BEFORE SUNSET [2004] did not ruin things, so taking a second risk seemed too much.  Ultimately, I am both glad and not so glad that I watched BEFORE MIDNIGHT, but I do realize it is something I had to.

I saw none of these movies in the theater.  My experience watching BEFORE SUNRISE remains totally unique.  I can still remember it vividly watching it in my college apartment one evening, maybe even a weeknight evening.  I actually rented the VHS video, after all there was no other way to watch a movie outside of a theater back then.  What was unique was that the very next morning I watched the movie again.  I had never done that before and have not since.  I do not think I was every more mesmerized by a film.  I could not take my eyes off Julie Delpy, just the way she moved her arms . . . .  I am pretty sure I have never watched it since that second viewing on consecutive days, and now I would never dare think to watch it and diminish that first experience.

Thus my hesitation with BEFORE SUNSET was very great.  That movie is less memorable in my mind, but I do remember it did not hurt the legacy of SUNRISE.  I was glad of that and for the chance to spend more time with the characters.

So when I heard a third movie was coming out this year, almost two decades after the first, continuing the story with them now a 40 year old couple, I was very, very hesitant and only deciding today at the spur of the moment to watch it, six months after release.  MIDNIGHT was great because it was so real, which is why it also leaves me feeling very bittersweet about Jesse & Celine.  Their fights were so, so real.  I could understand both their frustrations.  I just prefer the romantic time when he convinced her to step off a train and spend the night with him walking the streets.

However, if it had been another 2-hours of that, it would not have been real.  I respect the actors and director Richard Linklater for being unflinching in what they put on screen.  It hurt me to see them fight, which is a negative feeling, but the movie did make me feel, and really, really want them to not fight so badly that they ruined everything.

I, myself, not so long after 1995, was caught in a whirlwind, then again with the same person some years later, we even had a third chapter, just like Jesse & Celine, but not everything played out for us, unfortunately, as it did for Jesse and Celine.  Thus these characters and these movies will always remind me of very specific times in my life.  I cannot imagine a fourth chapter.

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