The first film in the Brock University Film Series (BUFS) season premiered September 18th to a full auditorium. The BUFS is always a big occasion for the Niagara community. Not only for student movie-enthusiasts but for fine film connoisseurs from all walks of life. Quite simply, where else can you find such an artistic portrayal of modern life while also being able to buy popcorn and Skittles?
Before Midnight is a fantastic film; other dramas attempt to express the truth of mundane life but ultimately fail in the finite details. Before Midnight however, is able to recognize and frame real life situations and make them not only engrossing, but poignant.
The beauty of the film does not come from cutaway shots of the ruins of Ancient Greece, but instead the descending peace of a relatable, shared experience. From a scene as simple as a long car ride back from the airport, the competence of the director has made it shockingly thrilling.
The long cuts set the stage for truly authentic drama and dialogue. Romance and the warmed-over ideas of traditional Hollywood have had little influence on the film. Instead, Before Midnight is an exploration of the imperfections of love and life.
In fact, Richard Linklater, the director, has shown his prowess for drama and the arts in mining the awkwardness, sadness and misunderstood passion from the script. Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delpy (Celine) strive meticulously in reaching the director’s complete vision of humanity. Both of the starring actors’ performances capture the spontaneity and vitality of every situation.
Although Before Midnight tells a coherent story that is in itself complete, it is complimented as well by its predecessors. The film follows the direct line of Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). With about 18 years difference between the first and third entries, it is awe-inspiring that Linklater, Hawke and Delpy have maintained the chemistry between each other on which the film is so dependant.
Linklater commented in an interview with grantland.com, “I’ve always been kind of mystified by the notions of happiness and love and what time does to that. What does it even mean as a goal?” Linklater’s constructionist approach to looking at the human experience is truly the thread that ties all three films together.
A lot has changed since the whirlwind romance of Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celine’s relationship is now far more complicated through the birth of their twins and his resonating, painful divorce. The ability to weave such well-represented stories and personalities should be the benchmark for creating cinematic lives. Neither Jesse or Celine are characters, but rather living humans that will live on long after the credits roll.
The film’s humour is as dark as the subject matter, toying with ideas of sexuality and infidelity as lightly as discussing the weather. This openness makes the movie incredibly compelling – nothing is off limits.
BUFS has no doubt started their 2013/ 2014 season off right with one of the best reviewed and most unique films of the past few years. Ultimately, Before Midnight is the heart of what any indie film should be – not just a comment on life, but an addition to life itself.