Anyone who has seen the story of Jesse and Céline develop over two decades, in 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset, will have their heart in their throat in the opening minutes of the latest film that shows them grow as a couple, Before Midnight.
The first scene, at an airport in the south of Greece, takes place between the now 40-something Jesse and his son, Hank, but the emotion of their separation when Hank boards the flight breaks like a wave when Jesse exits the airport and over his shoulder we spot his wife waiting for him at the car. His wife is Céline, and we have waited for them to be together for more than two films.
Our fantasy of them together quickly grinds up against reality, however, as they drive back to their vacation home with their young twins asleep on the backseat and discuss Jesse’s desire to be with his son in Chicago, while Céline has no intention of dealing with Jesse’s resentful ex-wife who would never give up custody.
While Jesse is trying to figure out what he would be willing to give up to see his son grow up, and not just on a seasonal basis, Céline senses this as a potential turning point in their relationship. She vocally protests the suggestion that she give up her life in Paris to move to the United States, just so her husband can be closer to his son, whom he isn’t likely to see very often given the hostility between him and his ex-wife.
Read the full review at The Prague Post.
(Still of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Midnight. © 2013 – Sony Pictures Classics)