Before Midnight: A Different Understanding of Love

 Before Midnight, the third film in the “Before” trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (which also includes Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), came out recently. I got to publish a great review of it over at Christianity Today, an article by Ken Morefield that reflected on marriage as much as the movie. Here’s a piece of it:

Before Midnight accurately shows the seemingly inescapable frailties of a relationship that is built on modern notions of romanticized love. Those are myriad. Celine resents Jesse’s family. Their mutual insecurity manifests as a constant, endless need to talk about the specialness of their relationship. They experience the fear that comes from the fact that to destroy a relationship, obstacles need not be insurmountable, just stronger than the partner’s feelings at the current moment. Sex has become less of a joyous celebration of union and more a desperate attempt to re-“connect.”

But for all they ways the film captures these real problems, it’s maddening to watch the conflicts never lead the characters to question their assumptions. They never wonder if they might be happier and more fulfilled not with a different lover, but with a different understanding of what love is.

I’d really recommend reading the whole article (though, be warned: some plot spoilers if you haven’t seen any of the films), and I’d love to hear what you think both about the film’s themes and Ken’s comment at the end about the importance of this kind of art.

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