I’ve watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching both but Before Midnight was truly entertaining at a different level. There is no way I can tell any of the three movies is the best among all because each speaks about the raw truth that makes you both melt with joy and cringe with pain on different levels of reality. I must say you have to watch the movies in order to fully appreciate the wisdom the movies bring.
I’ve written about Before Sunrise in another entry where I’ve mentioned that it seemed much like a fantasy of having that one spectacular moment with a stranger, one unexpected day on a train. This was entertaining because it feeds on a person’s fantasy or ideals that there is hope for something like this. It ends like how every fantasy does, you don’t know what will happen next and all you want to remember are the good stuff.
I haven’t written about Before Sunset but this gives a bit more glimpse of reality than Before Sunrise. It continues from Before Sunrise where they meet again after a decade. It wasn’t coincidence. Celine encountered the book written about their story which led her to where Jesse was doing a book tour. As you watch Before Sunset, you’ll feel a tug of dilemma of how the movie will end because you know they’re both enjoying their time but there is a clock ticking as Jesse also has a life he left behind in the US.
It’s painfully beautiful how the story evolves where Celine shares her bitterness of finding love and feeling love after meeting Jesse while Jesse here has a wife and kid, not wed out of love but because of the pregnancy. As they talk, you keep wondering what-could-have-been. As the movie is about to end where Jesse is out to catch a plane, he purposely delays each minute just to be with Celine. The movie doesn’t tell you whether he catches the plane or not but you see this immense joy in him as he watches what life he can have with Celine.
After watching Before Midnight, I realized how idealistic both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset were. Here’s Before Midnight giving you a bite of what reality is through their marriage. Not that I can relate but it scared me of what reality really is. It made me wonder if I have what it takes to enjoy the love a family brings but with great sacrifices along the way. True love is definitely not about romance and cheesy stuff. The real thing is compromise, sacrifice, acceptance, respect, and much more. Just when you thought it was going to end, the story ends beautifully, that there is much goodness and hope in life.
I enjoyed the part where they were watching the sunset. As the sun was setting, Celine was saying, “Still there. Still there. Still there. Gone.” Not that there was anything explicitly explained but the power of the moment was overwhelming. As an audience, there are many interpretations that can be drawn from that scene. To me, it just spoke to me of how reality is. That we have our fantasies about life but it comes with both pain and joy.
The short moment of Natalia explaining how she tries so hard to remember her husband was very touching. She explains that she is slowly forgetting the little things that her husband did that brought happiness to her. Every day, she makes an effort to remember. There are times when she remembers every detail but it is fleeting. “Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.” But we are just passing through. Beautiful.
I salute my parents and all the couples out there who have survived years of marriage. I remember these movies and I remind myself that I don’t want the day to come when I’m rude to my husband, where I start counting all the things he is not able to do, where I forget to take care of myself and blame it on the choices and life that I chose myself. I pray. Life is good.
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Photo Credit: zekefilm.org, fwdlabs.com