Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
What happened on Sunday

Before Midnight

Last weekend Michael and I finally saw Before Midnight.  First, some background.
Before Sunrise, the original film in this series, resonated with all the romance of our early twenties (I'm just a little younger than the characters).  We all wanted to have an experience like Jesse and Celine.  When I rewatch that film, at different points in my life, my experience of it is both nostalgic and new, as the older me reacts to it in different ways.
Before Sunset was beautiful and lyrical and filled with the cynicism we had developed by our thirties, skeptical of romance, but still longing for it.  It articulated realities.
I long for Linklater to make another every decade or so, as this really is the Gen X love story.
***Spoiler Alert***
Halfway through the film, I did not like it.  I was not connecting to it as I have the others.  Maybe the big difference is that I have yet started my family, so I am behind my age cohort and my experiences are different.  I enjoyed the nervousness of the airport departure scene of Henry at the beginning and the awkwardness and casual dialogue of the return drive in the car.  But the scenes at the home of the author Patrick did nothing for me.  Yes, they established how pretentious Jesse can be, but the dinner conversations about love and penises was vapid.
In truth, though, the film does not begin until Jesse and Celine begin walking and talking, again.  That's what we really want.  And it burns intensely once they arrive at a hotel for a romantic night and have an explosive fight.  It was so tightly wound, I was afraid there would be violence.
And, yes, the film was authentic.  It sounded, often, similar to the fights we have.  The accuracy of it was shocking and convicting.  It cut me to the bone, leaving me somewhat numb at the conclusion, but also longing for Michael.  We held hands through some of the worst of the fighting, both startled to see ourselves.  I, who had felt very connected with Celine in the past, found myself so very like Jesse and angry at Celine.
In ten years, or so, maybe we will be at Henry's wedding, somewhere in the States.  And we'll meet Jesse's ex.  If so, then she must be played by Winona Ryder.  
4 film reels
3 popcorn kernels


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