Friday, June 21, 2013

Love Story: Chapter Three

 Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight

I am a huge fan of the films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. They were made in 1995 and 2004 by director Richard Linklater and featured the actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. In the first film  Before Sunrise, a young American man Jesse and a young French woman Celine (played by Hawke and Delpy) meet on a train from Budapest and decide to get off together in Vienna and spend the night walking and talking and falling in love. (Didn't we all take that trip to Europe in our twenties?) After a magical night, they make a plan to meet in six months at the same train station. The second film Before Sunset, takes place nine years later when Jessie is in Paris on a book tour signing copies of the best-selling novel he has written about that night in Vienna. Celine finds him at the book signing and they spend an evening together walking the streets of Paris and once again, as in Vienna, talking about everything. The talking (and there is a lot of it) is the key ingredient that makes these films so special; the conversations are where the magic happens. I won't tell you anymore, but some film critics say the ending is one of the best and most romantic of any film. I agree.

Before Midnight is the third film in this romantic trilogy and it has opened in the theaters. Almost two decades have passed since Jesse and Celine's first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. As with any long term romance, this one is showing some wear and tear. If you haven't seen the film, go right away. I loved it. Like the other two films, it has witty and smart dialogue woven through a love story, though at times a rocky one, and this time it is set in Greece. The unique feature of the trilogy format -- three films made over the course of almost twenty years -- allows us to follow this couple from their twenties (they were so young and cute!) to their forties and discover how their romance has fared. If you haven't seen the previous two films, watch them first. You are in for a treat. After you have seen these, go to the theater to see Before Midnight to find out what has happened to this couple in the seven years that have passed since that night in Paris. This movie is a gem. I've actually seen it twice!

By the way, the dialogue in all three films is so natural that many people assume that it is improvised. However, the actors are actually working from a script. Go here to learn more about how these films were made.


  1. I too love these movies. Instead of the typical "happily ever after" of so many Hollywood movies, this one treats us to the reality of what happens after they fall in love. It's so interesting watching these two characters (as well as the actors) age and change. Where the first one was sweet and romantic, this third film offers plenty to think about. I can't wait to see where life continues to take them.

  2. Sunday Thank you for the review. These are my favorite type of movies. I am already searching for the first two. I hope you are having a grand weekend. Bonnie

  3. Sunday,

    An excellent review! I have seen the first two movies and am very excited for the third. Have you listened to the NPR interview with Julie Delphy, Ethan Hawke and the director? It was fabulous, funny, informative and just plain fun. I loved the playfulness of all three and their description of hoe the movie came to be, the dialog and what they were thinking when they wrote and made the movie.

    I hope you have a wonderful evening, Elizabeth

  4. Loved the first two, and hopefully will see the third this week. Glad you loved it.

  5. seeing the movie this weekend. Can't wait. I always enjoyed seeing ethan hawke on film and have his first (was it his only?) novel somewhere in my bookshelf. (Cant say I remember much of it now, or what I thought of it....will need to reread!)