Title: Before Midnight
Language: English, Greek, French
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Richard Linklater
Music: Graham Reynolds
Cinematography: Christos Voudouris
Athina Rachel Tsangari
We only know Jesse and Céline for two days in their lives (BEFORE SUNRISE 1995; BEFORE SUNSET 2004), but as if we have invested too much already, so at the beginning of this third chapter, when we realize that they have been living together for all these 9 years by now and even had two twin girls, is it a truly romantic fairytale comes true or the day-to-day reality has eroded the edges and corners and exhausted their acuity in dissecting what they are really thinking? The triad of Linklater, Delpy and Hawke will present us a most satisfactory delight delving into these two soul mates’ current states of mind.
Again tracing a one-day journey of the couple in their last day of their summer getaway in Southern Greece, in the morning, they see off Jesse’s son Hank in the airport, who has to return to his mother, Jesse’s ex-wife, which aggravates Jesse’s paternity guilt for being absent in most of Hank’s life, elicits an idea to move back to USA with the entire family, while they’re driving back from the airport, the discord occurs when Céline rebuffs the connotation of the unscheduled idea, and a time-bomb is ticking, the first long take in the car signals as a gambit to re-ignite the audience members’ coveted interest in their love story.
Under the magnificent scenery of this ancient land, their farewell lunch with friends carries a casual spirit but the small talk is overflowing with engaging and emotively touching insights about love from different ages and experiences, Jesse and Céline are mainly listeners, but Delpy manage to pull off a splendid ad lib mimics a brainless bimbo flirting with Jesse the writer and talking about Romeo and Juliet, so hilarious and this is a patina when they are surrounded with other people.
Later, they leave their daughters to friends and head to a hotel since they are treated to have a private evening in a hotel to culminate their last night there (with a couple massage coupon), clearly it is a god-given opportunity for them to express real thoughts without the interference of their children. Meandering in the town, everything is like deja vu, they are like two people deeply in love with each other and the sexual attraction is simmering when they reach the room, but their carnal engagement is interrupted by a pivotal call from Hank, their following tête-à-tête turns sours when Céline bickers about her sacrifice in the relationship and the frustration of parenting, utters discontent and spurns the prospect of moving to USA, meanwhile Jesse appears to be the calm one, but his passive-aggressive strategy fails to appease her and they begin to blame faults to each other, until Céline storms out and leaves the deal-breaker “ I don’t love you anymore”. From convivial to acrid, it is so spot-on in everyman’s world, then the ending plays a nice trick on the ambivalent possibilities of their future, fingers-crossed a fourth one will come another 9 years later and it will be worth the wait.
Thumbs up to both Hawke and Delpy’s scintillating acting, their resounding rapport and flawless two-hander should have earned some serious awards recognition apart from their effervescent script, good luck for a third time, Delpy could be a dark horse to bag a BEST LEADING ACTRESS nomination, and she is also French, Oscar voters, remember?