Saturday, May 25, 2013
THIS POST CONTAINS NO SPOILERS.
(That disclaimer is primarily for Nick's benefit.)
One of the benefits of being really busy at work and barely posting on your blog and not keeping up with movie news and basically having your head in the sand in general is that you can roll up to your computer on a Thursday to scan the options for a matinee movie on a potential early-release Friday before Memorial Day weekend, and learn that all of the sudden, Before Midnight is in theaters.
(Run-on sentence intentional, which Nick will also appreciate.)
I mean, I knew that the third (and final?) movie in Richard Linklater's Before series was hitting theaters in the month of May, and I knew we had only one week remaining in the month of May. However, being really busy and barely posting and having your head in the sand means that you forget what you knew. Allowing nice little surprises like this one.
Even better, it's playing at a perfect time (2:05) for my potential early release (1:30), while still giving me plenty of time to pick up my son at daycare (5:00).
What I'm most curious about with regards to this third meeting of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) is the emotional impact it will have on me.
I watched the brilliant Before Sunrise on March 25th, 2002, when I was about three weeks into a relationship with a woman who I thought would become my wife. Even at that point I saw everything lining up perfectly. We shared a geographical background (both from New England), we shared a mindset (less than I thought it turns out -- she's more conservative than she admits) and most importantly, we shared an attraction. It was one of those situations where you just know it. Of course, those feelings are not always correct, since we did not get married.
However, in that dizzy spell of early-relationship romanticism, I encountered Before Sunrise at just the perfect time. What some people might interpret as a melancholy story was, for me, a warm embrace of the possibilities of life and love. I ate it up.
It was a different story when I saw Before Sunset on July 23rd, 2004. The aforementioned girlfriend and I had been broken up for eight months, though it was only within the past couple months that I had started to think there was no possibility of us getting back together. It was one of those situations where I did the breaking up, then regretted it, and expended countless hours and numerous increasingly desperate ploys on trying to get us back together. By July 23rd, 2004, I was pretty sure it wouldn't happen. So as I walked into the theater to see Before Sunset, my heart was heavy. As I left what many people consider an equally brilliant film to its predecessor, if not better, I felt a bittersweetness that was more bitter than sweet.
It'll be interesting to see how Before Midnight strikes me today.
Today, I have been married for five years and been in a relationship with my wife for more than eight. In fact, I met her only about five months (almost exactly) after seeing Before Sunset. Our marriage is a happy one, though of course it has its share of the kind of difficulties that are part and parcel to the institution. We don't always agree and it's not always easy, but overall, it's an "easy" marriage by marriage standards. One I'm thankful for and lucky to have.
So I don't expect to emerge from Before Midnight feeling especially melancholy, at least not for reasons external to the movie. Though I do wonder how this movie will, like its predecessors, speak to the place I currently find myself. I haven't learned a lot about the plot of Before Midnight, but I understand that perhaps Celine and Jesse have been together since Before Sunset, meaning that domesticity is the dominant mode of their relationship nowadays. Of course, that may be wrong, but if it's right, it could very well have a lot to say about how a person's core "relationship" is affected by marriage or a close facsimile thereof.
Now, I just need to get that early release.