Monday, June 3, 2013

Before Midnight

Before Midnight is the final chapter of the "Before" franchise created by Richard Linklater. It's been 18 years since we first encountered a young Celine and Jesse, and they have grown up a lot, but they are more or less the exact same characters we know and love. Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Handsome Hawke) are just as charming and intelligent as ever and they have some of the best on screen chemistry I have ever seen in cinema. Their relationship is really natural and you can tell that they really love these characters, which is evident by them writing their own dialogue. The "Before" trilogy is less a thematic or spiritual trilogy, and is more of a three act play. Before Sunset is about the inception of love, Before Sunset is about the journey love leads us on, and Before Midnight is about the destination. Its hard to believe a film about two people talking would be as magnetic and intellectually (as well as emotionally) stimulating. It has been a great journey seeing these characters where we all hoped that they would end up, with a very satisfying resolution. Admittedly, I can not decide which film of the first 2 I like more, but this film is slightly worse that the others, but not by much. It's still a fantastic film and I enjoyed it more that any other film I have seen this year, but that is because the first 2 are among my favorite films and I'm glad I got to see resolution in this series, finally. The direction isn't as subtle this time around, but the direction is a metaphor for their relationship. It matured as Celine and Jesse matured. Not that Richard Linklater matured. He has always been a very intelligent and well rounded film maker, but he took careful steps as symbolism in his "Before" films. The film is clever, emotional, intelligent and well written, acted and scored and touches on themes of love, parenthood and regret, and its all told to us by two people that feel as real as life. I won't say go out and see it if you haven't seen the first two, but I will say go see the first two, then go see this, because if you like your films to make you think, it may not get much better.

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