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Monday, June 17, 2013

Celine & Jesse - Together Again

The Greeting: Hello, Everyone. Thanks for dropping by. As customary, I hope you and yours are well.
The Update: I continue to take time away from the hustle and bustle that is the indie life. My new book Seeing Ghosts continues to pick up good reviews which makes me very pleased. It isn’t selling like bottled water on hundred degree days, but it’s doing alright. Thank you for that. I can’t take too much time away as I must begin planning for the big July book tour that I’m doing. If you don’t see me around for much of the summer, that’s why.
The Relaxation: In the meantime I have been reading a lot. I have read three books in the past weeks with my limited time. All have been really good. I was planning on telling you about them, but I haven’t had the time to give them proper justice. Rest assured that I will. Instead, my wife and I just got back from the theater where we took a stroll with two of our favorite characters in modern film, Celine and Jesse.

The Movie: Before Midnight is the third chapter in the series that first began nearly twenty years ago with Before Sunrise. Nine years ago it was followed by Before Sunset. All three films are the work of stars Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Director Richard Linklater. The series has become so special and such a labor of love that the two stars once again joined in the creation of the screenplay as they did with Sunset.
The Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen the films before, you’re really going to want to catch up. If you don’t, the film will just come across as unsettling. It has its tough and sad moments. However, if you are invested in these characters and their lives – which we’ve literally followed nearly every step of the way – I think you’ll really appreciate the ride.

The Catch Up: In the first film, Celine and Jesse meet on a train in Europe. Sensing a connection the strangers get off the train and explore Vienna for about a day. At the end of their adventure, they are no longer two strangers, but a couple. Unfortunately, they cannot be together forever and must part at the end with hopes of meeting once again in the not so distant future. The second film carries the tag line: “Is there someone who lingers in your memory – someone who makes you wonder what might have been?” This time around, they meet in Paris. Jesse has written a book detailing a character’s love and loss, mirroring his own loss at never having reuniting with the woman who stole his heart in Vienna - Until he turns and sees her. Rather than an entire day, this time they only have an afternoon to decide if “lightning strikes twice”, and whether or not it can be bottled. (Now go see those films. I’ll wait…)

The Next Chapter: Jesse drops off his son from his first marriage at the airport after their vacation together in Greece. We follow him out to the car to find Celine waiting there, along with their twin daughters. Life has been good to them, mostly, but issues linger. It is killing Jesse that he only spends days a year with his son, but there isn’t anything to be done about it. Celine is feeling pressured to give up her dreams, believes that Jesse blames her for his regrets and the choices he’s made, and worried that the relationship is coming to an end. At a dinner scene they and their friends take a great deal of time, asking the question whether love is real or just a fairy tale.
The High Points: We’ve seen so much of Europe in this series and Midnight doesn’t disappoint. We are surrounded by beauty, geography and history. Yet, it is really the dialogue that is the heart of these films. We literally follow them around for tens of minutes without edit and it is the selling point. In film we are accustomed to following the characters around as they wake up, prepare for their day, fill their day, fight, make love and fall asleep. However, never do we get the entire unedited picture. This series acts as if it were a documentary of two real people; people we’ve fallen in love with. They are oftentimes graphic with their humor, subject matter and language, but they are real. After all of these years they still love each other. It’s just a different kind of love. One that is real and all too familiar to each of us who have been in a committed relationship that has spanned decades.
The Final Note: If you haven’t seen the films, send the kids away, find a place on the love seat and catch up. Then get to the theater and see the latest installment. Will it be the last film? Who knows? I’d kind of like to see how Celine and Jesse are doing as seniors. But not yet. We’ve all got a lot of living to do before then.
We’ll talk soon. 


  1. Thanks for sharing,James. Good luck with your book tour:)

  2. I'm interested in seeing the film, although I have to admit Julie Delpy drives me slightly crazy!

    Good to hear everything is going well with you!


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