Caution! Spoilers ahead… (Hurry up and see this one so you can be part of the discussion, it is too good to miss!)
What a movie! If the script here doesn’t win some sort of award, I don’t know what will. Then the Oscars are surely fixed. I have never seen a movie that more closely approximates the complexities involved in a real life couple relationship as Before Midnight has.
By now, our lovebirds Jesse and Celine have built quite a life together. We find Jesse and his tweenage son at the airport in Greece. Hank is on his way back to the United States where he lives with his mother, Jesse’s ex-wife. Celine waits in the car with gorgeous blond twin girls that belong to the couple.
Their ride away from the airport brings us right back to the banter that drew us in back in Before Sunrise. Really cute stuff. Like Celine accusing Jesse of stealing food from his children’s mouth when he eats a leftover apple slice belonging to one daughter. But we also get some foreshadowing. Jesse begins to get overcome with guilt and longing at having packed Hank away onto the plane back to the US. Mostly in jest, Celine marks the moment which will be the beginning of the end of their relationship…
Back at the idyllic Greek seaside spot where they were vacationing with other writers, Linklater helps to define the life roles the two have assumed with each other. Celine is a dutiful mom and partner, always seemingly in control, always guiding the lives of her charges. Jesse, still a big kid, still the “slacker”, still scoping out the girls – but in the end a puppy dog – still hopelessly in love with Celine.
The two are given the gift of “a night off” at a nearby upscale hotel in the town center. They stroll down a scenic path toward their romantic night…
But once they find themselves alone in that tacky hotel room, all hell breaks loose. The couple’s fight of a lifetime ensues. The writing in this part alone is worth the Oscar. All of the pent up anger, all the regrets, suspicions, repressed feelings, resentments and hurts – all of it comes out.
Can they survive it? Real life knocks on their door. What will they choose? Eventually Celine just leaves…you must watch this film if you are fans of the other two. Go. Now.
Bravo Linklater, Hawke and Delpy. I wish all films were this evocative. But maybe we’d all be suicidal if that were the case…