When people bring up the best trilogies of all-time, action flicks such as The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars Ep. 4-6 and Indiana Jones often come to mind. Most of these trilogies are centered on action and grandiose themes. However, there are always exceptions to everything. Not long ago, a tale of love one over the hearts of the world as a man and a woman got off a train and spent the day together. Years later, they found themselves reunited and spent one more day together. Their love and interactions are some of the most powerful that I’ve ever seen in a movie, and now they are back for a third effort.
Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) have now been together for nine years and counting. They have two daughters between them and Jesse has a son with his now ex-wife. The film begins with Jesse saying goodbye to his son for the summer and wishing that he could spend more time with him. As the family drives out to a resort in Greece, Jesse and Celine have a single conversation that spans a broad spectrum of conversation. They discuss family, life, jobs, marriage, sex, and children, and just about anything you can think of!
Upon reaching their destination, Jesse and Celine take some relaxing time off and decide to go sight-seeing. They talk more about their lives and what they’ve been through together. They’re initially staying with a group of friends at the home of a famous writer. There, multiple couples discuss their views on love and writing. As their time in Greece winds down, Jesse and Celine get in a rather large argument and have to overcome their pasts to focus on their future.
Before Midnight is easily in my top ten movies of 2013. It may be in the top five, even. There is a certain magic that surrounds the Before series. The realism of the characters and the life-like dialog they interact with is nothing short of brilliant. In a love themed film, the dialog hits home and it all seems like it’s real. Ever since Jesse and Celine met on that train in Vienna, our lives have all changed substantially. We’ve been able to take a look behind the curtain of a flawed and true relationship.
What I really love about this trilogy is that it’s co-written by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Head writer and director, Richard Linklater, has established these characters over the years and his efforts with Hawke and Delpy have earned a lot of buzz. This movie won’t likely get a nomination for Best Picture, but I do see this film getting a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, because this film is a sequel, it can’t be nominated for Best Original Screenplay. However, this is without a doubt the best written film that I’ve seen this year.
This film does tackle more than its predecessors, because Jesse and Celine now have two children together. They have to deal with Jesse’s ex-wife and son who Jesse so desperately wants to spend his time with. All the questions about jobs and home life are answered in one of the longest, dialog-heavy scenes that I’ve ever witnessed. My thoughts on that scene? I absolutely loved it! The writing is sharp and intelligent and the topics they discuss are actual topics that a couple would bring up in an argument. They fight, they laugh and they love. I mean, It’s really hard to think that those two are acting, because everything comes off so naturally.
New ground is broken in this film, when we see Jesse and Celine have an argument. Never before had we seen them fight, so it was astounding to hear their back-and-forth comments. Due to both of their views on love and relationships, we get more of an insight into their pasts and the relationships that they have. They bicker like any couple, but as is the normal with all their conversations, their dialog is spot on. As you listen to their reasoning and what they’re actually talking about, you can’t help but get caught in the middle, wanting to choose either side. I’ve never seen a movie that had characters that connected so well with the audiences, than the movies in this series.
This trilogy is not just composed of three romance movies. These aren’t movies that only your significant other will enjoy. The dialog isn’t sappy and the characters aren’t archetypal. There is love within these movies and the interactions and dialogs will take you by surprise. It’s as if you’re spending a few hours with these people, as you learn about their lives and grow to care about them. It’s an incredibly unique experience that doesn’t often happen with movies. Before Midnight is the icing on the top of a perfect cake. There is not a bad film in this “trilogy” and I believe that all three of them are five-star films. There’s never a dull moment with Hawke and Delpy, so I’d suggest you welcome them into your life and prepare for some of the best movies that you’ll ever see.
Before Midnight Trailer