The first movie, Before Sunrise, was filmed and released in 1995 with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy still in their mid-20s. Before Sunrise ended without closure – we couldn’t tell if they would see each other again after one spontaneous, romantic evening together. The audience had to wait 9 years to see what happened after, and 9 years into the story they finally meet again. And once more, Before Sunset (2004) ends without closure, but we do have a hint on what may have happened after. Another 9 years after, we find out what have happened to them. Before Midnight, released in 2013, shows us the continuation of the love story between Jesse and Celine.
Perhaps this is a compelling story about what happens ‘after’ the happily ever after. After meeting again in Before Sunset, Jesse and Celine stayed together, have beautiful twin daughters, and lived in Paris. Jesse continued writing his “fictional” novels, while Celine continued with her development work. This movie is set in yet another country. While the first and second were in Vienna, Austria and Paris, France, this third one was set in Greece, while they were on summer vacation on the invite of another acclaimed writer, Patrick.
The movie stayed on realism, quite opposite to the first movie. Jesse and Celine have been together nine years and have been dealing with the day to day life. Jesse has concerns about his son who had to stay with the mother back in the U.S. Celine is considering a big career move, and can’t seem to get the support she needs from Jesse. Things are no longer rooted in the fantasy and romanticism of their initial encounter. They have to deal with what was right in front of them.
Like the two movies before, this movie used conversation as its main form of showing the story unfold. This time, there were new characters that participated in the conversation with interesting insights, at least for a part of the movie. The second half returned the focus to just Jesse and Celine, sometimes teasing, bantering, but eventually all their issues surface and tensions broke loose. When Celine walked out wanting to end the conversation, we fear the ending of their relationship as well. Jesse comes after her eventually, decided that he wanted to keep the conversation and the relationship going. We could never tell from the ending of the movie if everything did calm down, if they were able to recover. I couldn’t say with certainty if they stayed together or decided to separate after the ending of the movie. Once again, the movie ends without closure. I wonder if it will take another 9 years to see what happens to them afterwards.