Warning: do not, under any circumstances, read this if you haven’t seen all three of the “Before Sunrise” movies and still plan to.
Jesse and Celine are supposed to be almost exactly my age, so the “Before Sunrise” series has led to no small amount of reflection on my part.
- “Before Sunrise,” which was about the promise of youth and budding love, came out in 1995, the year I graduated college and got married. It ends on an optimistic, yet uncertain note.
- “Before Sunset,” which was about maturation, paths untaken, last chances and, at least for Jesse, parenthood, came out in 2004, just after my daughter was born and as I started to think hard about what I wanted from my career. It ends on a tantalizingly optimistic yet still mildly uncertain note.
- “Before Midnight” just came out, a year and change after my divorce. It is about people who have lost themselves in their domestic routines and who then have awful, terrible, nasty fights about things that they probably should have discussed more regularly over the previous decade or so and during which they say and do horrible things to one another that can probably never be taken back. It ends with a forced nod to (possible) optimism, but boy howdy, after all we just saw there is no escaping that those people are doomed, doomed, doomed.
I enjoyed two of those three movies and found the third one to be among the most unpleasant cinematic experiences of my life. Guess which ones were which.