"Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through."
It has been 18 years since Jesse and Celine first met on a train and had their lives changed with that encounter, as did ours because Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy created one of the most authentic romantic and memorable relationship on film. This is the third film of the franchise and in my opinion it is the best one because it feels even more real than the previous two. The previous films focused more on a romanticized idea of love, but here the tone of the film shifts as we see this couple facing true challenges in their relationship. There is no doubt these two characters love each other deeply, but that doesn't mean their love is perfect. In Before Midnight we are at a stage in Jesse and Celine's relationship where they have some important issues to resolve. Their relationship is on the verge of a breakdown due to several problems they never dealt with until now and have really escalated. The performances are so good that you never feel like you are watching a movie; it is more like a documentary about a couple facing some serious problems in their relationship that they are trying to resolve through communication. I don't think I've seen better dialogues about relationships than I saw in Before Midnight. There were some very emotional moments and overall I thought these 3 films complemented each other very well.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have decided to live together after their encounter 9 years ago in Paris. Jesse left his wife and son to live with Celine who immediately got pregnant with twins. In the present the couple is spending time in a vacation home in Greece with a writer who has invited the family to spend the summer with him and his friends. The film opens at the airport where Jesse is saying goodbye to his son, Hank (Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick), who is returning to America after visiting his father. On their way back to their vacation home Jesse discusses with Celine how fast his son has grown and how bad he feels about not being able to be near him during these critical years in his life. Celine doesn't want to return to America because they tried that in the past and it didn't work. She also has a great job opportunity at home, and this minor argument seems to only be the tip of the iceberg in their relationship problems. They are as cute as ever together, but there are still many unresolved issues that really put their relationship on the verge of failure. Despite it all this still is a very romantic film that explores new ground in the Before trilogy.
It has been a great deal of pleasure being able to walk alongside this fantastic couple through the different European cities and listening to what these two have to say to each other about love, life, and relationships. They are so good together that it never becomes tiring or tedious to sit through. In this third film I felt like they were at their best together. The arguments felt so real and authentic that it sometimes was uncomfortable to sit through because we really want to see these two work their issues out. Like any other couple they say hurtful things to each other and that really builds the tension in this film because they are so charming together that we really want the two to find a way to resolve their issues as soon as possible. I really loved the ending in this film and thought it was a perfect tie to the first film. It was the best film of the trilogy, but you won't appreciate it as much if you haven't seen the first two movies to fully understand what is at stake here. Before Midnight is one of the year's best films and amongst Linklater's best movies. It is a heartwarming, raw, and funny movie about love and relationships with some terrific performances.