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Before Midnight: The Wonderful End of an Era

June 23, 2013

Before Midnight movie poster 2

I was a young punk when I watched Before Sunrise on VHS in 1996. I knew nothing about world travel, first love or intriguing conversations (I was 14). However, Sunrise caught me off guard and I loved every second of Jesse and Celine as they navigated the streets of Vienna. Then, in 2004 I watched Before Sunset in an empty theater and the movie blew me away. I was a 22 year old who drank too much beer, lifted copious amounts of weights and could probably have been defined as a “bruh.” For some reason these two moves involving two generations Xer’s talking had a lasting impact on a guy who grew up in a small town and loved partying. They were intellectual, romantic and extremely well made. I became a huge fan of both actors and I’ve read both of Ethan Hawke’s books (Hottest State, Ash Wednesday),watched Julie Delpy’s (2 Days in Paris, 2 Days in New York) series and suffered through various odd projects (An American Werewolf in Paris, Hottest state movie). I even had this poster on my college apartment wall.

Before Sunset movie poster

I love Before Sunrise so much my fiancee surprised me with this wonderful typography she did while getting her graduate degree.

Thanks Meg

Before Midnight is a wonderful way to end the Celine and Jesse era. It is nine years later and they are romantically together and parents to some very cute twins. They argue, wax poetic and wonder where the time has gone. The movie starts with Hawke sending his son onto a plane to head back to Chicago where the kid lives with his mom. They are finishing up a six week vacation in Greece and it is rightfully bittersweet. What follows is a night of wonderful conversations, fights and scenery.

I don’t want to give away too many clues as to where the conversations take them but know the feeling out process and superficial discussions are gone. The two have been together for nine years which allows them to be comfortable and annoyed at each other. They have a deep love for each other but both are stubborn individuals whom are pulling at opposite directions while being firmly tied to each other. What follows are discussions in cars, discussions at dinner, discussions while walking and discussions in hotel rooms.

I was in constant amazement at the long takes and amount of dialogue that Hawke and Delpy had to learn. Together, they are a well oiled machine that feel natural on camera and make you believe in their relationship. It will be a huge disappointment if the entire crew (Delpy, Hawke, Linklater) are not nominated for Oscars. The three have given us a twenty year romance that has been critically and universally adored (97.6% critical and 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes). If you haven’t watched these films yet I highly recommend you rent or buy them, turn off your cell phones and bask in the glory of two smart people as they navigate love, loss and growing up.

Watch Before Midnight. Appreciate the 20 year romance. Wonder if Hawke will ever get rid of the facial hair.

Before Sunrise movie poster

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