Before Midnight

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Last week I went to see Before Midnight in the cinema and I absolutely loved it. For those that aren’t familiar with it, it’s the the third installment in Richard Linklater’s trilogy – the first two are Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Each shows a day in the life of of Celine and Jesse with a spacing of 9 years, from their first encounter on a train in their 20’s all the way to their family holiday in Greece in their 40’s.

Each of the films is amazing in its own right, but this one stands out because it definitively abandons the traditional fairytale romance formula for a realistic depiction of a relationship. There is no happily-ever-after for Jesse and Celine. There are moments of beauty, but there is also ugliness – how cruel they can be, the lengths they go to to hurt each other (“I don’t think I love you anymore,” Celine says at one point).

The movie ends with a tentative truce. They are tired of fighting, for now. But you know the fight they had was just a variation on an ongoing theme, and it hasn’t finished yet. There’s no way of telling whether they’ll work through their problems, or whether the next installment (which will hopefully be made, in 9 years time!) will see them go their own separate ways.

A lot of people seem to think the movie is depressing. I didn’t see it that way. I think that the fact that Jesse and Celine were willing to have this fight is in itself hopeful – it shows they still care. The alternative would have been apathy, which is much bleaker. Or maybe I’m just an angry person and I “see anger as a positive emotion,” like Celine. My aunt, who watched it with me, said it was the most boring movie she’d ever seen. If the prospect of 90 minutes of pretty much nonstop dialogue doesn’t excite you, you’ll probably agree. Otherwise, go watch it!

Has anyone seen the movie? What did you think of it?

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