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I watched Before Midnight tonight, and absolutely loved it. No joke, I walked out of the theater with genuinely sore cheeks because I pretty much smiled and laughed my way through the entire movie*. I loved everything about the movie: the on-screen chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, the beautiful landscape of Greece, the banter and laughter and the countless meandering conversations. But what left a lasting impression, more than anything else, was the movie’s portrayal of the realities of relationships. While I won’t go so far as to say that no movie prior to Midnight has ever portrayed romantic relationships in a realistic light—because I’m pretty sure I’d be wrong—it is the only movie that I can remember ever doing so, especially for long-term romantic relationships, and I love it for that. The frank treatment is incredibly refreshing. And I don’t know about you, but I’m so over chick flicks and fairytales that chalk up romance to be something idealistic and shallow and not at all like the complex, sometimes painful, and utterly human experience that it really is.
There’s this one line that Hawke’s character Jesse says towards the end of the film, and it’s still resonating with me. He says it to Delpy’s character Celine, with whom he’s just had this majorly heated argument, and whom he is trying with all his heart to reconcile with. I don’t remember the exact phrasing, but gist of it goes something like this: love—REAL love—is nothing like the stuff you find in fairytales. It’s a messy and confusing experience, peppered with mistakes and shared between two less-than-perfect people. But it’s real. And it’s no less genuine.
* Excepting the argument scenes, of course. And when Jesse and Celine are having some sexytimez. Which reminds me, I should also warn that this movie does contain mature content, including explicit nudity and a good amount of swearing. Please be mindful of this before you buy yourself a ticket.