My favorite moment had to be near the middle when Jesse and Celine took a walk through the ancient streets of Greece. Their conversation was reminiscent of the previous two films and I appreciated that.
However, the beginning of the film was filled with family moments, discussions with friends and little time of Jesse and Celine alone like the years before.
When they finally were alone they were quick to argue and lose their tempers over familial issues and seemingly petty problems. Even to the end of the film, their relationship seemed perhaps more creaky than it had ever been.
However, over time I realized that these things that I did not like made the relationship of Jesse and Celine all the more realistic. They are not the starry-eyed kids or the young lovers meeting up for romance. They have children, strained relationships with former spouses, more wrinkles, full time jobs, and 40 years under their belts, and that is the way that real life often is. So I’ve been told.
I’m not sure if Celine and Jesse will ever be brought back to screen, but I know that I was ultimately satisfied with the place we left them at. As Ethan Hawke said it all began as a story about what might be, then it was a film about what should be, and Before Midnight was the film about what actually is. Linklater did us a favor by not giving into the conventions that we are so often used to, because he was never one to do that before, sunrise or sunset. His lovingly crafted romance would not sink to that level and should not sink to that level. It remained true to itself and even if it was not what I wanted, it was what was called for.
Who knows, 9 years down the road we might get another installment, until then I will be content with the love story Linklater, Hawke and Delphy so graciously gifted us. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s genuine and that is far better.