RELEASED: 21st June 2013
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
CAST: Ethan Hawke, Julie Deply, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick , Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Walter Lassally, Ariane Labed, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Athina Rachel Tsangari and Panos Koronis
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $11.1m
AWARDS: None (Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe nomination)
Before Midnight takes place nine years after the events of Before Sunset, we now find Jesse and Céline are now a couple with twin daughters, living in Paris, however the family are spending their summer in Greece. As Jesse drops his teenage son, Hank, at the airport as he sets off back home to Chicago where he lives with his summer, Jesse begins to reflect on his inability to be a good father to him, which then plays a part in the conflict between Jesse and Céline as Jesse wants to move back to Chicago to build a stronger relationship with his son, while Céline is contemplating a job offer at the French government.
Before Midnight is the third installment following the love story between Jesse and Céline, which has been played out over the course of eighteen years (at the time of Midnight’s release), with the two originally meeting by chance on a train travelling around Europe and spending a talk-filled night in Vienna together. Nine years later, they meet again for the second time, having moved on with their respective lives as Jesse is in Paris promoting a book. We witness through their brief encounter and catch-up that the sparks are still there between the two and now, nine years later again, we find them on the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, with the couple enjoying the end stint of their vacation away from life in Paris with their young twin daughters. For fans of the previous films that followed and become heavily invested in the relationship between Jesse and Céline, we the audience get to see the happy ending of the pair finally being together but, beneath the surface of it all, tensions are simmering from the outset as Jesse pretty much remains an overgrown man-child, while Céline is clearly exasperated of having her freedom replaced by taking on the responsibilities of parenting and adulthood that she’s taken on in his absence due to work. Despite appearing to everyone, including us, as being stable, it all inevitably boils over as a night of romance turns into a row in which years of issues are brought to the table and we’re left to wonder if the two can reconcile and go from strength to strength moving forward. Whilst this film shows us Jesse and Céline at their worst, with Jesse’s anxieties likely to pause a tempting job offer for Céline, the screenplay for which the two play off each other is superbly written and every sequence between them feels effortlessly organic. Linklater does a great job with the direction, particularly in the long walk sequence between the pair as they leave from the countryside back to the hotel, with some lovely cinematography by Christos Voudouris, which is complimented by Graham Reynolds. As always, it’s the chemistry and performances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply are terrific to watch and I can only hope we get at least two more installments from them seeing how Jesse and Céline grow old together.
FAVOURITE SCENE: It’s a small scene but for me that moment in which Jesse and Céline are sitting near the pier, looking at the sun setting. “It’s still there….it’s still there….gone.”
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “If you want love, then this is it. This is real life. It’s not perfect but it’s real.” – Jesse
DID YOU KNOW: Dedicated to the memory of Amy Lehrhaupt, the woman who was the inspiration for Before Sunrise (1995). Richard Linklater had spent a night walking and talking around Philadelphia with her in 1989. Though initially they stayed in touch over the telephone, they lost contact eventually. In 1994, Linklater started shooting “Before Sunrise” and when the world premiere was about to take place, Linklater was secretly hoping that Amy would show up but she did not. Ten years later, Linklater shot the sequel Before Sunset (2004) and had yet to hear from Amy. Finally, in 2010, a friend of Amy’s who knew about their story, contacted Linklater to tell him that Amy had died in a motorcycle accident on May 9, 1994 at the age of 24, only a few weeks before he started shooting Before Sunrise (1995). Both Linklater and Hawke were devastated but found comfort in the inspiration for the Before Trilogy.