Saturday, 28 December 2013

Movie Review: The Before... Trilogy

Before Midnight (2013)

The sequel to Before Sunset and Before Sunrise, the film is a continuation of the story of Jesse and Celine after a further nine years. They've decided to be together after their encounter in the Before Sunset and have kids.This time around, they're on the last few days of a family vacation with their kids in Greece. Jesse worries about his son's well-being from his previous failed marriage, which triggers a relationship assessment for the couple after all these years. Once again, the screenplay is written by both the actors themselves and it is astounding. Witty, intelligent, realistic, thought provoking and occasionally humorous, they talked about family issues, work, marriage, the obligations of parenthood, the complexity that lies in long-term commitments, insecurity, struggle of feminism. In the film, Celine's feminist ideas push her to behave in ways we've not seen her do before, many of the romanticism on her have faded away since the first film. Their lives have moved on since then, life is no longer hers alone and she has make some sacrifices for their relationship to work. Their heat argument near the end of the film reveals the hidden tensions in their relationship...the fears, resentments, insecurities, loneliness throughout the years and this reflects a lot of real-life married couple problems. A truly remarkable film that's fascinating to watch.  

Rating: 9/10

Before Sunset (2004)

The story of Jesse and Celine continues again after nine years (the film is also made nine years after the first one). They didn't managed to meet each other at the Vienna train station six months after the events of Before Sunrise. Jesse, couldn't forget their fateful encounter, decided to wrote a book about them. This allows Celine to find Jesse at a bookstore in France and their conversation continues again. The dialogue is superb, even more interesting and personal as his time around, they talked about their troubled love life, politics, environmental issues...Throughout the film, they started to show their imperfections, burdened by numerous responsibilities as they talk about the mistakes they made in life and the disappointments that comes with it. The effects of aging are noticeable from their faces. This film is definitely better than the first, because it provides a more unique, personal perspective. The characters have grown and matured throughout the years. From here, it's becoming apparent that these two characters are soul mates and they were meant for each other. Interestingly, the film's dialogue are both written by the actor and actress themselves. One can't help but to assume that the two leads may have actually shared some personal conversations during the making of the film.

Rating: 8.5/10

Before Sunrise (1995)

The story is about a young guy, Jesse and a young girl, Celine randomly meet on a train in Europe and they're both decided to spend the whole night together, talking about life and love in Vienna. As they walk around Vienna the whole night and communicating with each other, sharing their personal life experiences, you can see a deep connection slowly formed between them. The two lead actors, Ethan and Julie, shared a perfect chemistry together on screen.The script for the film is magnificent as the dialogues managed to keep the audience engaged throughout the film.Their conversations about love provides a lot of insights about relationships.They share their views, thoughts, perspectives of anything...and as they speak, you feel that you started to know these characters as well. The film successfully captures the beauty of youthful love, two beautiful people meet in a romantic setting and attracted to each other.

Rating: 8/10

Overall: Linklater (the director), together with Ethan (the lead actor) and Julie (the lead actress), had crafted the one of the best romantic drama trilogy of all time.The films features an in-depth look into the characters, their life experiences and how it affects their love life...of being together. The films allow us to see one woman and one man changes over the course of time. The sequels improve over time and found to be better than the previous ones.

Note: Keep in mind though, the films are dialogue driven and spend most of the time on the conversations between the leads, how they managed to find a connection between them, share their thoughts, views, perspectives, principles in life...If you find that two people communicating is not enjoyable, then it's not recommended to watch the trilogy.But it'll be incredibly rewarding if you do.

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