Recently I watched the movie Before Midnight, a 2013 romantic drama film that acts as the third film in a series that includes Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I haven’t actually seen the predecessors to this movie and to be honest, I didn’t know about them until Before Midnight came out. Usually, I’m not much of a fan of the romantic genre but I was tempted to check out this film because of the exceptionally high ratings it received on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.
It isn’t necessary to have seen the first two movies to understand the plot of the movie. That isn’t to say that it is unattached from its predecessors, but the movie does a good job at bringing you up to speed with the events that happened in the first movies and the resulting issues that are being faced. Without giving away too much detail, the film is essentially a dialogue between the two main characters, Celine and Jesse, about various perspectives on love and life. There are occasional scenes of other characters bringing their unique viewpoints in a continuous stream of conversations. They reminisce about the events of their life (paying regard to the previous movies) and contemplate their future together.
How interesting can it be to listen to two people talking throughout a 109 minute film? The answer: very, surprisingly. The conversations shared were deeply engaging, and Julie Delpy (Celine) and Ethan Hawke (Jesse) were mesmerising to watch on screen. This movie felt more honest, and so distinct from any other “romantic” film I’ve seen. This seems to be an insight into the aftermath of a happy ending. The couple fall in love, have children, and well, what happens next? They explore the nature of long-term relationships and their expectations and fears for what lies ahead. I can certainly see this movie attracting an older audience because of the disconnection that could be felt with issues that younger people haven’t experienced. However, I enjoyed the insight I received into mature issues and perspectives that I never considered before.
On top of that, the setting pays a nice compliment to the conversations that are held throughout the movie. The protagonists spend the majority of the time walking and pass by beautiful landscapes of Greece, making the movie a joy to watch. This film is minimalistic, which proved to be very effective. Despite some of the heavier topics brought up in the movie, there was a surprising amount of humour which provided a perfect balance. While this film may be more suitable for older audiences, I believe the movie is very well done and a unique take on the idea of “romance”.