Before Midnight

If you’re expecting a fairy tale ending to the story of Jesse and Celine, you may be disappointed. But the final instalment in the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset does have a real world ending and all in all a satisfying one. But to reveal it would give away too much.

Beautifully filmed in Greece, we begin the story realising that Jesse stayed with Celine in France. His marriage has dissolved and now he is separated from his son. Celine and Jesse have now twin daughters who are peripheral to the story.

So now we enter the lives of a middle aged couple on holiday with friends facing all the doubts of career, children and blended families. And yet   the couple still that same spark of conversation shown in the previous two films. But underlying the dialogue is a harder edge than Before Sunrise  and Before Sunset had.

What’s different about this film, is that other characters move in and out of the story. Both Jesse and Celine chat with others but even in these conversations there’s a sense of unresolve. At times the dialogue is genuinely laugh out loud funny but teases out all the questions one wants to ask in conversation but rarely does so. But as to answering those questions, well that would end the conversation I’m afraid, which is the charm and joy of these films.

But it’s the last part of the film which is no holds barred where accusation and counter accusation escalate. Though awkward and at times harrowing, the audience is made to feel as if they have wandered into a play punctuated by off stage dramas. Both Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are mesmerising in this last stanza. And its not until the last lines of the movie that the unexpected ending is revealed.

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