4. Before Midnight: “What Happens After” #CaPC25

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of 2013. 

Previous #5: Gone Home (PC/MAC)

#4: Before Midnight

Before Midnight is a heartwrenching look at a relationship developed without a solid foundation. The third and final installment of Richard Linklater’s Before series, the film is incredibly honest and intimate as Jesse and Celine finally come to terms with the realities of their relationship. The couple, now in their forties, have had twin girls and are still together years after Jesse had resolved to divorce his wife and move to Paris with Celine at the end of the second film (Before Sunset). However, as the story progresses, it’s clear that their children are one of the only factors keeping them together. Meanwhile, Jesse feels stifled and Celine feels taken for granted.

The film takes place in Greece, where Jesse, Celine, and their children have vacationed for the summer, staying at the house of an illustrious writer and his friends. One of the more fascinating scenes in the movie involves a dinner in which Jesse and Celine discuss the nature of love and soul-mates with their host and his friends. While the discussion is mostly amicable, Celine adds tension by airing her frustrations with Jesse. In turn, almost everyone at dinner reveals that they are cynical about the necessity of romantic love and lifelong commitment. However, a recently widowed friend of the host has the final word by sharing how much she misses her husband in a heartfelt speech, which leaves the others thoughtful and hushed by her passion for her “soulmate.”

I won’t spoil the last part of the film here but I recommend watching all three movies to understand the progression of Jesse and Celine’s relationship as well as to gain an appreciation for Linklater’s unflinching honesty. This series is one of the few I’ve seen that allows two characters to live out the consequences of their choices in a realistic, relatable way. Before Midnight is what happens after the well-worn “happily ever after” trope plays out.

Suggested Reading
Before Midnight Hits Home: A Married Couple Discusses The Film

Next #3: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


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