To a select few the blossoming romance between Jesse and Celine has been a key part of their cinematic life. Meeting them first on a train to Paris in 1995 then nine years later in the city of love itself, we have been left waiting for their third encounter quite some time; another nine years in fact and following that unforgettable ending from the second film I’m sure for many it’s been nine years too many.
Before Midnight picks up nine years after Sunset when Jesse and Celine are living what appears to be an idyllic life. Jesse is a successful writer whilst Celine is still a champion of the people; they have a pair of beautiful twins and when we meet them they are on a family holiday in Greece.
Jesse and Celine are now both in their 40’s and their relationship, whilst still maintaining that razor sharp wit and undeniable warmth from the first two movies is at a trying stage in its existence. The starry eyes and endless dreams of youth have taken a hard slap in the face from reality. Jesse’s life choices have left him with an estranged son living back in Chicago whilst Celine’s career choices and the children means that the couple now have some serious decisions on their hands.
What Linklater has managed to achieve with these three movies is quite simply phenomenal. The very concept of two people walking around talking for an hour and a half three times is certainly one which would put many people off but to his credit he, alongside Hawke and Delpy has created two characters who feel so real you can’t help but leaving the cinema wondering how things are going to pan out and whether we will get the chance to rendezvous with them again in 9 years time.
Verdict: Perhaps the best movie in the trilogy so far. The star crossed lovers from the first two movies who we were all rooting for have now been grounded in the mundane reality of middle class life making this perhaps the most real and honest of Linklater’s series. Funny, Intelligent and incredibly touching this is one of the best movies of the year so far. Here’s hoping we can catch up with these guys again in 2022…