Before Midnight: When Reality Strikes

One of the reasons why I love this series is the fact that it dismisses me from my expectations (I don’t know why it’s a good thing for me). Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were absolutely amazing in this film and I had no doubt about that even before watching. They have grown with the film and the nine years of gap between each installation was of great help.

before
Through the years.
Nearly cried after they first appeared on the big screen.

Before Sunrise gives us the idea of all the glitter in romance, that it doesn’t need half a decade to know that you are in love. It’s that moment you start a conversation you wouldn’t want to end. Before Sunset depicts wrong decisions and regrets. It seemed like an intra-personal tug-of-war for both characters as nine years after their first meeting, they have actually moved on. There was that certain force that drew them to each other which they were ironically trying to resist.

After I knew that Before Midnight will be showing this year, I promised myself to watch it on the big screen. It was my only chance. Yesterday, I posted a Facebook status asking someone to join me in the movies but unfortunately, no one said yes. Maybe it was also because I specified that I prefer someone who had seen the first two movies. I wonder why not so many people are drawn to this series. Only about 7 people are in the cinema when I watched it. Maybe because the movies require some thinking? No? Or because you see the depth of the story through the conversations, the subtle gestures, and the metaphors and not through a covert script?

My favorite part in Before Midnight is the scene where Jessie and Celine join their friends for lunch. Here, couples of different generations talk about their relationship. There’s the modern young couple who prides over being in this generation as there’s Skype (and Celine and Jessie didn’t even exchange numbers then). There’s Jessie’s ex-pat mentor who ย shares that he and his wife were never one. They were always two unique individuals who meet halfway. But Natalia, his sister, showed a dreamy kind of love, of romance, even in old age.

Before Midnight slaps reality to our faces. No matter how you started out as a couple, no matter how dreamy you were when you first held each other’s hand, you will inevitably come to a point of over familiarity, of unresolved frustrations, of rethinking vital decisions. Of what ifs. I guess it’s safe to say that they’re getting shaky but still trying to stay still.

My expectation was a happy ending because like Jessie and Celine’s girls, I still believe in happily-ever-afters. But yet again, just like the first two installations, we are all left hanging. So will there be another one after nine years?

Will it be a picture of cuddles of relief when Celine lies beside Jessie or will it be a “Still there. Still there. Still there. Gone.”?

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