Before Midnight Review

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Movies

The third chapter of this series–following Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke portraying two people in love with each other–picks up ten years after the last entry. In the series, Ethan Hawke meets Julie, they have an affair, separate, reunite, and stay together–an American man and a Parisian woman.
These are two very fine actors, with a great deal of physical charisma, obviously, but more than that, these films are truly introspective, thoughtful and unflinching. Julie has gotten bigger in the backside, Ethan isn’t as attractive, but it is clear that these two love each other. The movie really seems to pose the question, though–why don’t they get married? What is it that holds them back?
I was pondering this question the last few months in particular. A new young couple moved into our neighborhood, and they took no little pride in telling anyone who would listen that they decided not to get married, but to live together until they see how it works–whatever that means. Are they going to be compatible? Will they be able to make the commitment that is necessary? Evidently, they don’t know, or can’t tell, and they feel that this will help them decide. I can’t help but wonder what will happen if she gets pregnant–will that be a positive, or a negative?
Julie’s character walks out a couple of times–yet, when she comes back, and when he goes to find her, it is evident that leaving the other person wouldn’t be a matter of inconvenience–It would be a profound heartbreak and a crippling emotional loss.
A profoundly good film–lots of sensitive discussion, moral dilemmas, funny, heartbreaking–yet more than entertaining. It is a fine discussion of what it means to be in love under very difficult circumstances. Four stars, one of the best films of the year.

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