Tuesday, June 18, 2013

film review: Before Midnight

The backstory: Before Midnight is the third film in what I hope is an ongoing series rather than a trilogy. The first two films, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are two of my favorite movies of all time.

The basics: We meet Jesse and Celine again, nine years after their poignant walk around Paris, in Greece. Slowly we learn they have been together since that day in Paris and they now have twin daughters.

My thoughts: Despite my best efforts, I had high expectations for this film. I have loved Before Sunrise and Before Sunset for years. And Before Midnight was getting ridiculoulsy good reviews. Then Peter Travers said "It's damn near perfect." And Owen Glieberman said it was "enchanting entertainment that's also the most honest and moving film about love in years." They're both right, but what I wasn't prepared for in this film was how much it hurt to watch.

Before Midnight is so different from the other two films. There are certainly similarities: it captures a day in the life of Jesse and Celine. It's a day both ordinary and extraordinary. There are moments of whimsy and joy as they walk alone together exploring a city. But the heart of this film so much bigger than the other two. This film bravely explores what real life looks like for a couple with such an extraordinary story.

As I left the theater, I was crying, both because of the events of the film and because the story is once again over. With so much time spent anticipating this film, as a fan I go through a period of mourning at its end. It took me a few days to process it. When I left the theater, I wasn't sure when I would want to see it again because it was emotionally draining. I'm already ready, and I hope to see it this week. Now that I know what to expect, I want to sit back and enjoy it even more the second time (and on and on and on.)

The verdict: Before Midnight is a very different film than its predecessors. It's raw and painful to watch at times, but when I took a step back, I was able to fully embrace its honesty and bravery. The film's closing line is true perfection, and the film itself is pretty close to perfect too.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 109 minutes
Release date: It's in these theaters now 
Source: paid to see it at the Fleur Cinema


  1. A friend asked me to go see this with him, but I was out of town with my family.

    After he watched it, he texted me and told me not to date, fall in love, marry, or have kids. Now I'm terrified to see it. (But I will.)

  2. I thought it was the most realistic portrayal of a relationship I'd ever seen. And that fight! I want to go again, maybe this next week.

  3. I saved your post until I was able to see the movie (posted my thoughts on it today). I agree, it's so different from the first two, but it's so beautiful in its own way. I'm glad you loved it, though I agree I won't rewatch it as often as I do the other too because it is draining.

  4. I didn't see the film until this week and like Melissa I bookmarked your review to come back to. That ending shocked me in how *raw* it was and oh, that's such a cliffhanger to leave it on, wondering where they will end up living and if they'll make it. I really want to go see it again at the weekend and I *never* usually watch a film twice at the cinema!


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