Culture Street

Film review: Before Midnight

On July 18, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

Jesse and Celine first met in Before Sunrise (1995) were reunited in Before Sunset (2004) and now in 2013 they revisit their past as they try and find a way forward together.

With Richard Linklater (Director), both Ethan Hawke  and Julie Delpy assisted in reworking the first script, since then the three have come together to hone the scripts for the subsequent films.

Before Sunset ends with a question - would Jesse (Ethan Hawke) go back to his wife and son in the US or make a new life for himself with Celine (Julie Delpy)?

Before Midnight opens as a distressed Jesse says goodbye to his son Hank in a Greek airport. Jesse has to return his son to the US where his estranged wife is waiting to greet their son.  Hank admits that his summer with Jesse, Celine and the twins has been the best summer of his life. Torn between his family living in Paris, and his son in the US, Jesse feels the need to return to the US.

Celine has her own agenda. She has been offered her dream job in Paris and wants to pursue a more independent life, moving away from household duties. But Jesse is conflicted. His son is 14 and growing up fast propagating a desperate need for him to be by his son’s side.

The family are currently in Greece enjoying the hospitality of Patrick, a writer and mentor to Jesse. Jesse is a hit wherever he goes, his laid back attitude endears him to the people enjoying Patrick's hospitality in the Peloponnese. In contrast Celine is fed up with being considered his French muse; Jesse used her for inspiration in both his previous books.

On their final night away their guests give the couple a gift. They offer to babysit the twins whilst they spend a night alone in a hotel. With the tension rising between them Celine wants to refuse this generous gift, but Jesse in insistent concerned they will cause offence if they refuse.

The scenery is beautiful as Jesse and Celine meander their way through the local village to their hotel. The banter that goes back and forth is less about romance, far more reminiscent of a relationship drama with easy flowing dialogue between the two.

Before Midnight completes the previous film Before Sunset, but once again ends leaving much open to interpretation. For those who have followed this 20 year romance Before Midnight cannot be the end. It might be another nine years, but there are sure to be fans still wanting more from this relationship.

Before Midnight is out now in cinemas around Australia.

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