It’s really hard to quantify how truly great Before Midnight is. I say this without any hyperbole or reservations that the “Before” films are the greatest trilogy I have ever seen. Never have I seen a succession of films where they continually get better and develop into even further introspective films. It’s almost inconceivably how how a group of films about talking, relationships, love and life could ever be considered one of the best sequels of all time. Surely, it should be some non-stop action series, or a gangster epic, but no, it’s just Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy trying to work shit out.
As these series of films reaches it’s third benchmark, it has never been clearer as to what this stage means. Eighteen years after their first meeting and nine after the most recent things have changed, but oh, so remained the same. Jesse and Céline are married now, a family with kids and their past coalescing into what they are now. But, even the most perfect night and seemingly perfect couple doesn’t always make the best models. Céline is wary of Jesse wanting to move to Chicago to help raise his son, while Jesse is reticent about the positions that maintain in their life.
I’m not married, and really don’t see myself like that in the future, but holy shit have Hawke and Delpy choreographed what seems like the most realistic fight in human history. They fight about family, sex, and person, throwing it upon each other negatively, like they don’t mean anything until their certain way is met. Realism abounds from the film like it has the previous ones, being so real and present that it seems painful to further experience these feelings.
The film, after building upon the previous ones of growing love and maintaining it, shows how hard it is to keep this feeling up after multiple years. Sure, you met your dream girl in the most random of circumstances, but really how are things 20 years later. Is the love still as fresh, do you touch each other like you used to? No matter the insanely romantic way you met someone, and the romantic connection you had, who knows how that supposed concrete walll will change over time. Maybe, you’re not as set in stone as you used to be, and are more reticent to other’s needs. Who knows.