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Before Midnight review: love is beautiful, love is annoying

“Know thyself.”

You know that feeling when you meet someone and it’s as if everything you’ve ever done had lead up to that very moment? Of you know, love stuff? Then before you know it you’ve spent so much time with that person you start to take it all for granted, growing almost tired of it all. Because along with love there’s life, and kids, and arguments, and well: is it really all that you ever wanted? I mean, of course! It’s love! Well, more like a love-hate with love, but, same thing. This very bitterness is thrown at us almost immediately in Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, when we are in a car traveling through Greece with Nina and Jesse (with their two beautiful twins), the same couple we fell in love with at their very beginning in Before Sunrise when Jesse, the idealistic dreamy writer-type, gives up his life to falls in love with the beautiful French girl (when life was just a bit more complicated.)

The two’s thread of never-ending conversing and hilarious bickering is constant throughout, but at this point, the movie comes to a darker stage of serious relationships, when like, you don’t even wanna do the sex anymore (eek!). To make things even more complicated, Nina has an offer for her dream job, and Jesse is starting to experience guilt from leaving his son behind in the Midwest (I mean, he did just up and leave him to follow his heart to Paris.) Nina, not keen on the whole America thing (can you blame her?), is resentful. Why should she give up her life so Jesse can see his son every other weekend? When at the same time, why shouldn’t he when he already gave up his entire life to come to Paris?

Mind you, this is all happening while the two are on a romantic holiday in GREECE (Jesse’s super-important writer friend invited them for an extended stay). Like, is it even possible to fight in Greece? So if you remember anything about the gorgeous cinematography in the first two, expect to be nothing but in awe by the entirety of the movie’s scenery. The two somehow find a way to really go at it when their friends surprise them with a hotel on their very last night. Why not make the last night the most romantic? Or, why not make the last night the most argumentative? “You are the mayor of Crazy Town,” Jesse exclaims, as Nina walks out of their hotel room (don’t worry, she comes back.)

Probably avoid this movie if you don’t want to be somewhat heartbroken, but do see it if you understand what love really is when it comes down to it all. The fluffy stuff fades, but at the end of the day love has a real meaning of being OK with the fact sparks fade, being OK with the fact love can be ugly. Before Midnight‘s definition of love is that it’s real, and well, you can make it if you try (somebody cue Bill Withers…)

(photo via patheos)

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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.