Thursday, November 7, 2013

Before Midnight (2013)

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick, Walter Lassally, Athina Rachel Tsangari


Director: Richard Linklater


Synopsis: We continue our journey into the lives of Jesse and Celine in the third installment of Richard Linklater’s Before “trilogy.” The film takes place nine years after the Before Sunset conclusion. Jesse continues his success as a novelist while Celine is just picking up her career in Paris. After dropping his son Hank at the airport to Chicago, Jesse feels distressed that he’s not a part of his son’s life anymore. From the villa to the luxury hotel in Greece they have a series of dialogues about love, relationships, and long-term commitment as they encounter the struggles of keeping the intimacy alive in their relationship.    


Reviewer’s Rating: 3/5 Reels





While it attempts to be edgy and deep, the film left much to be desired in its definition of love. The inherit problems in Jesse and Celine’s relationship seems to all stem from selfish desires. They’re not married and much of their relationship ethics are based on an “open relationship.” Their love is built on a connection between two human beings in love; that is, as long as there is some benefit to gain from one another. Basically, the film focuses on the “rebirth of love.” In that, nothing really is resolved, but problems are meant to simply disappear.  


However, there are some redeeming qualities to the film that are especially compelling. Linklater focuses not so much on quick changing scenes into dramatic climaxes but engages us by allowing us to watch time slowly unfolding. This avoids the normal powers of cinema and gives us feeling of actually walking, eating, and talking with the characters; interacting with them as if you were a part of their lives.


In one scene in particular, we see Celine and Jesse sitting down by the sea in Greece watching the sun slowly set below the horizon. During the last moments before the sun sets Celine says in Jesse’s arms, “Still there, still there, still there, gone.” Here Celine says something that perhaps encapsulates the entire movie and provides a profound implication for what relationships represent for her and Jesse. The idea here is that love, though lingers, will eventually disappear just like the sunset and be reborn the next day. However, real relationships require work and mutual self-sacrifice that is not based on narrow commitments but on a self-giving love for the good of the other person.   






Reviewed by Joshua Ibanez

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. This seems like a seriously interesting film. I am conflicted by the morals of the relationship between the couple but the filming style seems very interesting. I have never heard of the movie or the trilogy but the location of the film and the cast seems intriguing.

    The issue and definition of redefining love is something that I find a lot of films aim to tackle these days. It is another way that I see people trying to fill a void in their heart, defining love with others before they actually know true love with the Lord. This movie seems like it is a commonly held view of many people in the world today. It is a very relativistic view, so many people argue that everyone can experience love in different ways and it doesn’t have to be the way God made us anymore. I don’t quite agree with this view and so it can be hard for me to watch films such as this one.

    However, the way that the movie is filmed sounds like something that I would appreciate. The slower pace films entertain me and I find it more relaxing. I’m picking up a sense that this movie is chick-flick-ish and I have to say, I am typically a sucker for a good girly movie. These are the types of films that I connect most with because it offers a more personal feel and I enjoy feeling connected to characters.


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