“Before Midnight”: Possibly its first negative review, and I hate myself for it (SPOILERS THROUGHOUT)

Photo (c) SONY pictures (Note: this image has been highly and offensively re-touched by SONY to skinny-fy Delpy)
Photo (c) 2013 SONY Pictures (Note: this image has been highly and offensively re-touched by SONY to skinny-fy Delpy.)

Since watching a “Before Midnight” matinee two days ago (with, surprisingly, only one other person in the audience besides my husband and me), I’ve been bothered by it.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I wanted to like love it. I wanted to love it so bad that I’m actually troubled by the fact that I didn’t. (I’m also a bit intimidated by the fact that every single review I’ve read has been absolutely glowing.)

I own “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset.” If they were VHS tapes, the ribbons would be worn out. It’s safe to say they’re my favorite movies of all time in part because the simple style, interpersonal tension, character development, and intimate interactions are so natural and honest and real (and well-written and lacking in trite, cliché, or “safe” dialogue) that had I not lived a similar experience, I would enjoy the movies purely for what they are.

However, I do also love them in part because I have lived a similar experience. I can feel—from memory, not as a manufactured response to a fictional story—the intensity of the kind of “Before Sunrise” connection that makes a cobblestone alley, an old cemetery, a town square fountain, or a dive bar transform into a magical place that could have been put there for no other reason than to be a backdrop to a love story.

Before Sunrise

When watching “Before Sunset,” the sudden tears that spring the moment Jesse sees Celine at the bookstore reading come not from Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke having created a successfully sentimental movie moment (which they did), but from experience, from knowing the precise feeling of seeing—after ten years—a soul mate whose physical absence hasn’t diminished the power of his presence in my pysche since the last brief, but beautifully surreal, meeting.

The writing is loyal to their connection through to the final moment of “Sunset.” In the last scene, Celine moves in her Paris apartment to the music of Nina Simone as Jesse, smiling, watches her (positively smitten) from the couch. “Baby,” she says, “you are going to miss that plane” [home to his wife and son]. He, still smiling and wholly unapologetic, says, “I know.”

(This is arguably the best ending of any movie ever made.)

Before Sunset

We know they’re still together within the first minute of “Before Midnight,” because Jesse is at the airport with his son and speaking a foreign language to the woman behind the food counter. His son, we discover, had spent his summer vacation in Greece with Jesse and Celine (also there on vacation – they live in Paris). Jesse is seeing him off, sending him home to the States (and his mother).

When Jesse exits the airport, Celine is waiting for him, standing against the passenger side of their car while talking on the phone.

Finally, after ten years, Jesse and Celine and their extraordinary love story are back, and I’m excited, filled with curiosity. And I’m thinking, “Please don’t have kids please don’t have kids please don’t have kids.”

For a second, maybe three, there’s promise, there’s a chan—

And then, there it is: the shadow of two heads in the back seat, seen through the rear window as the camera follows Jesse to the driver’s side.


Inserting children into the relationship/story line allowed the writers to fall back on typical family-related struggles approached in typical ways rather than exploring (and exploiting) the potentially harrowing and supremely complicated emotional conflict that could arise between two people who have turned idealized long-distance soul-mate love into grounded we’re-always-together-love.

Granted, there are some gut-wrenching moments in “Before Midnight.” First, there is the absence of the magic Celine and Jesse once had. They seem fine together, but not special, and that’s terrible (in a wonderful kind of way). As spectacular as a “normal” relationship can be, there’s still hope that these two will have maintained that sparkly “thing” that separates them from the grime of the world, that inspires a riverbank poet to write their story, and that they’re stuck in the everydays of the everycouple is heartbreaking (good).

There is also the thought-provoking dinner conversation about the transient nature of life (and love), and the disappointing (in a good way, for the story) walk Jesse and Celine take that launches “Before” devotees back in time to the passionate, revealing, and entertaining exchanges the younger versions of the couple had—and which they don’t quite manage in the same way, now, even if they do get close.

And then there is Celine telling Jesse she doesn’t think she loves him, anymore — and the silent moments after she leaves the hotel room.

But the rest…

The rest, as I feared it would be (but hoped it wouldn’t) if they had children, is not a strangely simple and yet still somehow profound investigation into their relationship ten years later, which is incidentally something they easily could have done even with children in the picture, as the twins don’t make much of an appearance beyond the first ten minutes.

Instead, it’s a towering heap of ordinary arguments had by typical couples who have children and who, as a result, feel un/underappreciated, are convinced one partner is doing more work than the other, fear they’ve lost a sense of self since having kids, have a sex life that is apparently suffering (my husband, who also feels strongly about the first two “Before” movies, says the subtitle for the third could be “Jesse Tries to Get Laid”), and who are dealing with the logistical nightmare of having a child/step-child in another country as well as the psychological nightmare of dealing with a batty ex-wife.

A decent (if stacked-on) conflict pile for any other relationship drama, but theirs lacks the foundation that was the first two movies. Aside from bits and pieces of dialogue serving as reminders to the audience, the core of what made theirs such a phenomenal film story is largely absent. “Midnight” could stand on its own, a new version of Willis and Pfeiffer’s “The Story of Us,” and it shouldn’t be able to.

Back to the batty ex-wife, because it brings me to another area where I felt the writers took a disappointingly easy way out…

In “Sunset,” Jesse tells Celine about the wonderful woman he impregnated and then married, but who – in the end – just isn’t the right person for him. In “Midnight,” we are made to understand that she’s an angry alcoholic. Why the change? Did she become this way after Jesse left her? Celine does ask Jesse, “How long is she going to hate me,” but that hatred doesn’t appear to be related to the ex’s other negative traits, so while it could be argued that her bitter alcoholism was caused by the divorce, it doesn’t come across that way in the movie. It seems more likely that the writers, when creating “Midnight,” simply weren’t comfortable with Jesse having left a nice woman for the right woman.

Had they allowed Jesse’s ex to be smart, funny, and in all other ways perfectly normal and reasonable, there would have been a wonderful opportunity to explore the difficulty of wanting to be happy, the force behind the kind of love that would make it almost easy for a married person to leave his or her spouse, and how that kind of dynamic would operate after a number of years. Instead, they (it seems) felt the need to redeem Jesse and legitimize his relationship with Celine by making his ex-wife an intolerable creature the audience would applaud him for leaving.

The ending, too, feels unfinished — and not the good kind of unfinished we get in the first two movies, but the kind of unfinished that makes you wonder whether they’d run out of energy and just weren’t as committed to this movie as they were to the others. There’s not enough time between “I don’t think I love you, anymore” and the unconvincing, predictable, and – sadly – contrived last line. (I could punch myself for saying that, but I do remember thinking after Delpy delivers the last line, “Oh, dear.”)

I like the movie, and I’ll watch it again, but it’s no true “Before.” If there is one great success of “Before Midnight,” it’s that it captures a real-life relationship (even by blaming children for the downward spiral of their romantic connection). The arguments are real, and they’re spectacular. The anger is deep, the battle is vicious, and the lack of intimacy (they hardly touch unless it’s sexual and rarely make meaningful eye contact) is chilling. But where it fails is in its approach to that real-life relationship, an approach that makes the third installment every bit as “normal” a movie as the relationship portrayed between Jesse and Celine.

I have to wonder if it could be because Linklater lived the first story (and loved its story quality), then spent years, perhaps, imagining what a future meeting would be like and used all of that wonder for a brilliant sequel, but that none of them – Hawke, Delpy, nor Linklater – had the personal experience + genuine interest to delve as deeply into part three as would have been necessary to really nail it.


28 thoughts on ““Before Midnight”: Possibly its first negative review, and I hate myself for it (SPOILERS THROUGHOUT)

    1. Bad Puppy!

      And then the people BECOME uninteresting because they are updating Facebook with their baby’s poops. We get it. Babies poop. It’s so adorable!!! Not.

    2. Bad Puppy!

      LOL @ Growing Pains and re: Angel/Mad Men… it took me FOREVER to figure out that Vincent was Connor on Angel. He looked so familiar to me but I couldn’t figure out from where. Also LMAO @ Roseanne changing Becky back and forth and also the “solution” to a nagging Rita on Dexter. hahahahaha

    3. thumbsup

      i think i understand why many people may be disappointed in midnight, particularly with the addition of their children. you want to see “just” them continuing their whimsical storybook romance, where even though they develop other relationships, they are holding torches for each other through all these years. and the great distance only intensifies the heightened sexual, sensual tension that the viewer enjoys when watching romantic movies. now, the reason i like midnight is because it shows what happens to all relationships at some point or another when “life” beyond two people begins to happen … the couple gets caught up in raising babies, coping with step child/parent issues, baby mama drama issues, wife and ex not getting along, etc. it is inevitable. and to most people, there is nothing remotely sexy or sensual or whimsical about seeing two kids strapped in the back seat of a car, a couple in the front seat pseudo-bickering in a borderline philosophical manner about the ex wife, the stepson, blah blah. it reminds them too much [probably] about what they go through in real life and what they go to the movies to escape from! ha! Also, after a brief and rushed encounter, how well can you really get to know someone who lives so far away and who you can only see infrequently? their nuances, quirks, and oddities [annoyances] can’t be seen just because of the distance. and when they finally see each other, i imagine that (especially because they are measuring their storybook relationship against their “unfulfilling” relationships) they want to maintain that initial whimsy that made their encounter so romantic and sexy and storybook-like. think bridges of madison county. francesca knew that if she’d left to go with robert that things would quickly change and their relationship would eventually become as ordinary as all the relationships that robert had already experienced, and that the only way to keep that special relationship was for them to keep the little time they had together and not try to make it more than that. i think jesse and celine’s relationship in midnight had developed into what francesca was afraid would happen to her and robert. you can’t hold on to that storybook connection when the reality of living together, bills, blended families and all the drama that that often involves, becomes an unavoidable part of your life. i think when she got on the train at the end of sunrise, that should have been the end of their story for those who just needed to hope that they’d see each other again and have a happy, romantic ending. i, for one, like how their characters developed. what would have been disappointing to me is if, despite having children, they’d maintained the same quality of a relationship as in the first two movies (not possible to the majority, if any, of people). i wouldn’t even have liked it if they hadn’t had children and still were able to experience that euphoric, romantic connection after so much time. the only thing i didn’t like is that he uprooted himself to move abroad and settle down with celine, having children with her, and causing his relationship with his son to become the long-distance one.

  1. Charles

    It is fine for you to say that you did not enjoy Before Midnight. It is a vastly less enjoyable film than its predecessors. It is fine to say, as you do, that the addition of children makes it more difficult for you personally to relate to the characters.

    However, I am perplexed as to how a fan of the first two films could call what is being done at the end “lazy.” Do you not see how caustic her last line is? It does nothing to contradict her assertion that she is no longer in love with him. She has come to realize that the only way for the relationship to continue is for her to play a role that she finds demeaning and unsatisfying. The fighting has resolved nothing. Based on what is shown in that scene, she will likely break up with him as soon as they get back to Paris.

    Celine and Jesse are shown as having a lot of tension between them throughout the first two films. She appears neurotic, hypersensitive, and deeply pessimistic about the state of the world. He comes across at various points as glib, patronizing, and evasive. Their conversations take unpleasant turns, especially when they turn to anything having to do with gender.

    The new film is a thoroughly realistic depiction of how such a relationship could evolve . You may have chosen not to have children, and I respect that choice. However, most couples do have children, and doing so changes their lives. In Before Midnight we see a Celine who no longer gets to be a creative person who has expansive conversations about life, the universe, and everything. She gets stuck taking care of the kids while Jesse builds his career as a writer. She has come to resent his passive-aggressive ways of manipulating her. But much of the time he is not deliberately being manipulative. These are just their personalities. They are still in many ways the same people they were in Vienna in 1994, but they do not work as a mature couple trying to raise kids together.

    Watch Before Sunrise again. Stop looking for yourself in the story and just see these two characters. Then watch Before Midnight again. It is harrowing, it is heartbreaking. But is is also exceedingly well-made and not remotely lazy.

    1. Charles,

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. (I’m ridiculously excited to be talking about these movies with someone who clearly loves them as much as I do.)

      I actually did enjoy “Before Midnight.” But it was missing something. My review just explains why it doesn’t sit on the same level as the first two.

      Watch Before Sunrise again. Stop looking for yourself in the story and just see these two characters. Then watch Before Midnight again. It is harrowing, it is heartbreaking. But is is also exceedingly well-made and not remotely lazy.

      I did watch them, immediately before watching “Before Midnight.” And while I can see my own story in theirs, I don’t look for myself in it (that is, whether it conforms to my personal experience has nothing to do with whether I’ll enjoy it).

      In this review, I explain that beyond not having children and not relating to that part of it (a minor thing, but something it seemed necessary to include as a disclosure to keep things honest), there were other, more relevant reasons I found it lazy in parts, and I think I explained why. I don’t disagree that the characters themselves – their wants, their goals – are consistent with who they were in the first two movies; I still think, however, that what their characters created together, that separate entity, didn’t exist. Not in a way that would make them lovey-lovers, but in a way that would convince me the same two people had been carried forward ten years, or – maybe – that the writers were still as interested in finding a new way to deliver an old scenario.

      I plan to watch “Midnight” again, not only because I want to (as I wrote, I liked the movie), but because I’d like to see if I hear in the last line what you did. I did wonder, after writing about it, whether the line was intentionally given its contrived quality.

  2. I’ve not seen “Before Midnight” yet, but your review of it tells me that it’s pretty much everything that I could have predicted. I guess you could make the argument that the “normalization” of Jesse and Celine’s relationship — the fact that they *have* followed the life script to a large degree, despite vacationing in exotic locales and living in Paris — is precisely the reason for the downfall of their relationship and the reason they can no longer connect. I might even be bold enough to suggest that this is precisely the message that Rick intended to convey to the audience. Sort of a cautionary tale? Me, I find this a poignant reflection of what has happened to a lot of the married couples I know IRL. They meet, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the world with their Big Dreams, then the reality of the “life plan” settles in, and they part ways — sometimes on friendly terms, but often, painfully, angrily, filled with recrimination.

    1. Lelaina,

      I’m not at all troubled by the fact that their romance has fizzled. I didn’t expect a rainbow ending. In fact, I prefer movies that show the reality, the grit, the ugliness and truth. They’re more interesting and more powerful. I just didn’t find the way they addressed the fizzle very creative. (Strike that: as creative as their first two.)

  3. Charles

    Because I believe strongly in the value of a good argument, I will take on a few of your other criticisms.

    Regarding the lack of magic . . . in the first two first films they are getting to know each other and falling in love. This time they have been living together for nine years. It would be absurd if they had not lost that frisson of joy that comes from intense and intimate communication. Much of Celine’s disillusionment revolves around the kids and the gendered division of labor, but the failure of the relationship ultimately stems from the difference between romantic idealism and long-term romantic attachment. Did you really think these issues were not engaged in the film? It seemed to me like the entire dinner conversation was an exploration of the impermanence of romantic love (and of life itself). You write in your review about the lack of magic as if it were the result of lazy filmmaking, when instead the lack of magic seems to me to be a central point that the filmmakers are deliberately emphasizing.

    Think about it this way: what makes Celine and Jesse special in the first two films? It seems to me to be the way they communicate, mixing discussion of philosophy and politics with personal anecdotes and discussion of their own feelings for one another. In real life, even without kids, it would be difficult to maintain that kind of meandering intellectual intimacy for anyone who was not something of a slacker. And neither Celine nor Jesse are slackers. She wants to make a real difference in the world, and he genuinely aspires to be a great writer. (Remember near the end of Sunrise when he says he would rather be great at something than be a good family man, and Celine responds with a story about a man who grieved at being successful without having connection to people? Just one example of many moments in Sunrise that suggest these two people may not really be all that well-suited to one another.) In other words, the best of what they had was something inherently context-specific and ephemeral.

    Regarding the ex-wife being evil . . . First, it is Celine, hardly an objective observer, characterizing the ex-wife as a raging alcoholic. Hank only says that his mother hates Jesse. And why wouldn’t she? Look at it from her perspective. This guy that you’ve been struggling to build a relationship for years writes a novel all about this one-night stand that was the love of his life, and then he leaves you to go be with that woman. That would make almost anyone feel deep enduring resentment. During the fight scene, Jesse actually defends the ex-wife, acknowledging that the breakup went badly in large part because he mishandled it.

    Regarding your husband’s characterization of the film as “Jesse Tries to Get Laid” . . . That has been a central plot point of all of these films. Do you remember the scene where he drags her onto the park bench in Sunset? Or the Ferris wheel in Sunrise? The overt sexuality of this film is discomfiting not because it is out of character but rather because of the lack of romantic idealism.

    Regarding the comparisons to “The Story of Us” . . . That film was just poorly done. Willis is solid as a stoic action hero and as a breezily cynical comic, but he is wretched at playing deep emotion.
    Name me another film, a quality film, that illustrates realistically how a long-term couple who deeply love one another fail to maintain their relationship. I do not see that as a stereotypical plot. And are there really that many films that talk seriously about the “double shift”- how career women get stuck with the overwhelming majority of domestic responsibilities, even when their male partners are supposedly “progressive”? Maybe it is not an issue in your social circles, but it is a pervasive social problem.

    I am curious- did you notice that Jesse in Midnight was not at all unhappy with his relationship with Celine? He felt massive guilt and anguish about Hank, but he was comfortable living with this woman who he thought was “crazy.” After all, she took good care of the kids and was, from his perspective, a great lay. She had clearly been trying to communicate with him for some time how unhappy she was, but he dismissed it. The communication was gone, but he did not notice so much because he still had his creative outlet- his writing- and she fulfilled other functions in his life. But without that communication, she fell out of love with him.

    The tragedy of Midnight is that Celine truly was the only love of Jesse’s life, but he never understood her. During that last scene, he tells her how hard he’s trying and how things aren’t perfect but that he loves her more than anyone else ever will. He is raw and painfully sincere, and he thinks he is being romantic. However, what he is doing is also a form of bullying. After thinking about it for a moment, she decides to play along. In fact, she starts to play the same ditzy bimbo character that she demonstrated earlier in the film at the dinner table. Jesse, seemingly oblivious, responds in his usual way.

    Try watching Sunrise and Sunset right after watching Midnight. They are still wildly romantic films, but they are full of clues that these two are not really as compatible as their exuberance makes it appear. Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke are not being lazy- they are being true to the characters. It is a decidedly unpleasant kind of truth, but t is nonetheless a great film,

    1. sammygol

      Hi. I was under the impression that she didn’t mean it when she told Jesse that she didn’t love him any more, and that it was designed to hurt him deeply and completely, due to her perception that he didn’t understand her issues. I understood that she felt dissatisfied with her lot including her potential career but thrashing out at him and hurting him was part of this. I think she still loved him deeply.

    1. I did. I saw it two days after it happened, and I couldn’t believe I missed it. (It’s probably good that I did, though, because I’d have gushed profusely.) Thanks for the link!

  4. Johnny

    Just watched it with my wife, who enjoyed the first two as much as I did, and we left equally disappointed, her perhaps a little more than myself, and for similar reasons.

    1) In the first two films, the setting serves as the 3rd lead of the film, and Linklater has somehow made Greece look like a studio backlot. That’s a monumental fail, considering the abundance of natural beauty found in that country.

    2) We’re made to believe that a couple with such a history, and that has spent the last 9 years together still blather on about existentialism, family life, the amount of dust in one’s navel, etc…. it would have been more believable and effective to have had the two of them seem more weary by having them talk less.

    3) As with Julia Roberts’ in that Godawful film version of “Eat Pray Love”, the film simply doesn’t play when one of the leads is not likeable or at least charismatic. The dialogues seem crowbarred into the film, whereas in the first two films it all seemed organic. Delpy in particular comes off as a French Woody Allen this time around, and her endless kvetching makes me root for the Jesse character to kick her to the curb, which can’t happen, of course. There’s no money in it.

    4) You’ve made a European film–don’t weaken it with a Hollywood ending!!! It gets more and more depressing and downbeat, then it’s washed away with a phoney, saccharine, tagged-on scene that’s clearly meant to keep us stoked for the inevitable sequel. Life is sometimes left unresolved, and art should reflect that.

    From a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, I give the first one a 9, the second one an 8, and this one a very weak 7, only because I still am invested in the characters. But I went in with low expectations, and they were fully met.

    1. Kyle

      1) The setting here serves the same purpose, though not in quite the same way. The reason being because their relationship is at a different state, thus the setting reflects that – The tragic Greek ruins, hidden and reserved. This film is not as romantic as the first two, and it makes no qualms about it.

      2) Well considering that he is a writer, and she is a passionate woman desiring a promotion, it makes sense that they would be discussing such things. And they do have moments in the film of weariness, though subtle, of them recognizing a fading of their connection.

      3) I felt that much of the dialogue in here is as good, if not better than the first two films. It seemed to me more raw and authentic, particularly the first bit in the car. The first two films, as great as they are, always seemed schmaltzy and ideally romantic. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just how they were meant to be, especially at that point in their relationship.

      And Celine’s growth is quite noticeable, and it only makes sense that she is the way she is. I could see it in the second film, and how she is in Midnight only makes sense. As a couple who has been with each other for years it makes sense that they are more sarcastic and pointed toward one another.

      4) Meh. This distinction between “European film” and Hollywood seems lame and pretentious. Happy endings are not exclusive to the latter, nor are they inherently poor.

      And I’m sorry to say but I think you missed the ending. And by that I mean missed the point. The point was that it WAS saccharine and phoney, but not in the way you seem to think.

      The entire trilogy is filled with an underlying existential dread – The love and romance is real, but whether it can last and maintain its meaningful poignancy is in constant questioning.

      Celine and Jesse do not settle their issues and differences. If anything they are holding them off by playing a game together, a game that has them acting in the romantic way they once were, but no longer actually feel. It’s a sham.

      Pro-Tip: Just because they’re smiling and seemingly happy (they’re not) doesn’t mean they are. And it certainly doesn’t mean the situation is a happy one. If anything, it’s only happy on the surface. They are attempting to convince themselves that they are happy.

      But after the sex, and once they wake up the next morning, they’re back to square one.

      If anything, the ending is a kind of mocking of the saccharine, phoney Hollywood endings you refer to. As it is a lie, and underneath that is an inconvenient truth.

  5. Behdad

    Well I agree with you… I liked the first movie; I LOVED the second movie but again I just liked the third one. I badly wanted to love the third one but I just liked it. Perhaps, if it was not a sequel to “before sunset”, I would have loved it but…… My problem, though, was not the introduction of children but that the third movie scripts were not as real as its predecessors. Conversations seemed fabricated (I didn’t have this feeling for two earlier movies). Too much sudden changes in moods… not quite real
    Anyway, the only part I loved was the dinner table gathering.

    P.S. Sorry for my English.

  6. Rimple

    I completely agree about the point of fabricated conversations. That entire lunch scene made me cringe – the dialogue was so forced! All the actors spoke as if they had just memorised the script a few minutes before. Your review was spot-on. I am really surprised that the film has got such glowing critical reviews – the fight scenes did make the characters so tragically normal.

  7. Pingback: 31/2013 » André Herrmann

  8. Nates

    I also had a similar experience to that of Before sunrise, I meet this girl and we started talking, we got on so well, we ended up spending the whole day together walking around and talking about all sorts of things, about life, love, sex, favourite movies, favourite music, about aspirations, and all the while flirting heavily too. I first saw the movie Before Sunrise a few years later, it was on TV, and it was amazing how similar my experience was to that of the movie. it is one of my fav movies as it relates to my life experience.

  9. I finally watched it a second time, and I liked it a lot better. I still have the same complaints about the treatment (script-wise) of the ex-wife and the use of children as one of the major contributors to their problems; however, I now appreciate that the inclusion of children allowed for the conversation about a woman like Celine – independent, active, passionate, creative – being stifled creatively by motherhood and how frustrating/suffocating that can be.

    1. I’m curious: can you enjoy a film in which the characters have children and this is a positive force in their lives? Because you come across as being one of those “childfree” types with a real animus toward children and/or “breeders”.

      1. Where do I come across like that? I think about 95% of my posts paint me as the very opposite of that, which is why people who use words like “breeder” will call me a “breeder pleaser.”

        (But I am childfree, yes – without the quotation marks. And I enjoy all kinds of movies, children or no children in the plot. Is it possible you’re offended that I criticized a movie you’ve listed among your favorites in the series?)

  10. Anonymous

    I agree wholeheartedly with this review. I wanted to love this movie as well, but can only bring myself to like it. I think after watching it again, it might even lose its “like” status. The only thing satisfying about this movie is that I will no longer pine to meet up with these characters ever again. Just don’t like them anymore. It’s done.

  11. This film is about their suffering. The first two films were about the exquisite suffering of romance, which they suffered a great deal of. This film was about the suffering of the true grief, when existential angst turns to despair, hope to desperation, and eroticism to unsatisfied impulse at the inevitable death of early romance. My great problem with this film is that they suffered, but they didn’t suffer enough. Their experience simple didn’t go far enough or have enough intensity, and the words were not as dramatically crafted to their experience as they could have been. The drama for me delivered insufficient pathos due to an under worked script. I too wanted to love it!


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