Before Midnight (2013) Review

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Before Midnight (2013)

Directed by Richard Linklater

Ethan Hawke
Julie Delpy
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Jennifer Prior
Charlotte Prior
Xenia Kalogeropoulou
Walter Lassally
Ariane Labed
Yiannis Papadopoulos
Athina Rachel Tsangari
Panos Koronis

Running time: 109 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
We see Jesse & Celine nine years after they met again in Before Sunset. Now in their early 40s, life is a lot more complicated than when they first met almost twenty years ago.

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I love Before Sunrise & Before Sunset. I’ve always liked that these two feel like a REAL couple, which you don’t always get in romantic movies. Plus Hawke & Delpy have proven that they’re great working together & have wonderful chemistry. I also love Richard Linklater films. I love films where nothing much happens but the characters are really rich and talk and talk and talk about all kinds of interesting but also plenty of boring things just like we all do in real life (wow – I’m describing the exact type of movie that someone I know would hate. Lol). Well, I love this sort of thing! (Dazed And Confused is my favorite Linklater film and the exact type of movie I’d love to make if I was a filmmaker).

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Anyway – I’ve only just finally managed to watch Before Midnight as it was of course not showing in any cinemas near me for very long. But, also, I kind of had some trepidation about watching it and still didn’t rush to see it once it was available to watch at home. My review will, as always, try to be spoiler-free. I won’t say how this ends but, before seeing it, I had a feeling it would be the end of Jesse & Celine and I really didn’t want to see that. I liked them as a couple & wanted them to stay a couple. They’re made for each other!

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This movie is just like the first two in that we see some intelligent people sitting around and talking about the things intelligent people talk about. Jesse & Celine are in Greece staying with a friend and a few other couples. Over a meal they all talk about love and marriage & I enjoyed this part of the movie quite a bit. One woman whose husband has died talks about how she misses him and she was probably the biggest highlight of the film. As it’s Jesse & Celine’s last night in Greece, they’ve been given a gift of a night in a local hotel while their friends watch their twin daughters for the night.

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Throughout the movie we’ve been seeing the strain the marriage has been under due to Jesse having a son living so far away from him in America and a difficult ex-wife and Celine considering a career change plus both of them, but especially Celine I think, realizing that they’re in their 40s now and things are very different from when they first met. I’m the same sort of age as this couple which is probably why I’ve always been able to relate to them so this one was a difficult watch as, to be honest, life is hard enough at this age so I prefer to watch movies as a form of escapism from reality. It’s probably why my favorite genre is actually sci-fi. Hawke & Delpy give great performances as always but don’t expect the lightheartedness of the first two films. What I did like a lot is that sometimes I could relate to Celine whereas other times (and probably more often) it was Jesse I could relate to more. I think a lot of couples watching will feel this way. They’re a very “real” couple in this one with real problems and the movie is pretty fantastic. But it was all just a little TOO real for me and I think I’ll choose to remember Jesse & Celine the way they were before life got in the way.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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26 thoughts on “Before Midnight (2013) Review

  1. I loved the first two. I know what they were trying to do with this but I was really disappointed with it. I prefer the films with them talking to each other and running into strangers.

  2. My thoughts about this film are quite a lot like yours. But then again, I’m more in the same age and situation like they were in the second instalment and it’s my favourite of the bunch at the moment at least. This one was quite hard to watch. Plus I think I’m more manly than feminine when it comes to arguing. But then again, I have no idea how it feels to be a mum with this always-present feeling of inadequacy…

    • Very true – I think only mums (or moms if I’m going to use my American spelling ; ) ) can ever know the added pressures kids can have on things. I can see where you’d identify with the second one the most – would be interesting to know your feelings on the final one in another ten years. But I still prefer the first two films. : ) (but as I’ve always been the same sort of age as them, my opinion on each movie will probably never change from how I first felt about each).

      • I liked the first part better back when I saw it and the second one but now after watching them again, I preferred the second one. That’s why I think it’s an age question with me. πŸ™‚

  3. This sounds right up my alley……

    ………. if I wanted to hang myself……..

    Good work, Parrot!!! Have a good week!!!

  4. Great review! I really liked this. I thought it was a brave move to step away from the formula of the first two and I think it worked. To have made it the same as the other two would have made it rather stale in my opinion. I think this shows a much more realistic side to their relationship.

    • Thanks. πŸ™‚ Oh I do agree that they couldn’t do the same movie again, which is why I wasn’t looking forward to what I figured would be fighting and a break-up. Agree it’s very realistic! More than the first two. But, damn it’s depressing… ; )

  5. The stuff in the hotel room is real. Very real. And I’m with you – I’m about their age, too, and like you … I know that kind of real in my real life – I don’t necessarily need to see it on film.

    My bigger complaint, though, is the stuff before the hotel room. Jesse and Celine do not feel like a long term couple who have been together some nine years. They feel like people who used to really get along really well, but have been apart for some nine years and are finally catching up (which, tangentially, is the precise experience the actors, at least as these character, were having as they made this movie.) Their pre-hotel room conversations don’t ring genuine to me, so I wasn’t terribly engaged anymore by the time the hotel room finally rolled to around.

    So, needless to say I am not a big fan of this one. I’m one of the 1-3% who isn’t.

    • Glad you seem to feel the same that I do. : ) I agree – they didn’t actually feel like they’d been together for years. They still have great chemistry but it didn’t seem as natural & effortless in this one. Maybe because (I think) this one was much more scripted from what I think I remember reading? A little disappointed with this overall. :-/ Would like to see them again at 60 maybe! Could be a happier one…

      • Actually, I haven’t seen the first two. I knew their basic premise and had been told this one summarizes the first two movie’s plot well (it does) so I could still appreciate this, even without context.

        I don’t think the context was necessary. But I still don’t appreciate it. Before Midnight is, in my opinion, bad. πŸ™‚

        Would I watch one when they’re sixty? I don’t know.

      • Really?? You’ve not seen the other two? I can’t imagine caring about the characters at all if I was watching them for the first time in Before Midnight. : ) I definitely prefer the other two films as well!

  6. Haven’t seen any of these “Before” movies, but I was surprised how much people raved about this one. Seems like the kind of thing you need to be in a particular mood for. And yeah. Definitely not Eric-friendly. Hahaha. Nice review!

    • Really?? I was hoping it would be much higher on my list, which is why I waited until I’d watched this to do my 2013 top ten list. Didn’t quite make it, though. Unfortunately. :-/ But glad you liked it so much! πŸ™‚

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