Before Midnight- Movie Notes

before midnight(The other two I’ve done in stream-of-consciousness/movie note form; I guess there’s no reason to deviate now).

We all lie to our children.  A lot.  At some point, remembering all those lies is going to become a challenge.  We are going to slip up.  And our then adult children will remember those lies as the only truth they know/knew.  That will undoubtedly prove awkward.

It’s not unusual, if we’re honest, to wonder if our kids are going to turn out okay, or if our imperfect parenting is screwing them up.  That they will one day be in rehab, or need therapy, or have some disorder, and it will be all our fault.

That men apparently never grow out of the desire to ogle women/seek their attention.  No matter what their circumstances.  And that women apparently never stop noticing.

We can hopefully all remember a certain girl or a certain kiss making a certain summer the best summer of our life.

That we can all look back, and maybe even look forward, knowing a certain event/discussion started a “ticking time bomb” that will inevitably end in catastrophe.

That we are all in some state of perpetual catastrophe.

That this is life.

That we all tend to blame other people for our unhappiness, no matter how unfair or illogical this is.

(I loved his book discussion with the other characters in this movie.  And that he discussed his other books.  This is the only glimpse we get of what actually happened after he “missed that plane” in the second movie).

(I also liked some of his book ideas specifically, the same story from multiple points of view, a concept that has always fascinated me.  And I liked the particular points of view, the woman with persistent deja vu.  The one with the ability to remember every face she ever sees.)

I like the indirect reference to young love, young couples, and how there are different stages and layers to love.

And was fascinated, as it would seem anyone living in the modern era would be, with the concept of “Skype love,” or new love in this technological era that makes the world both bigger and smaller at once.  And the fear/curiosity that more and more experiences take place in the virtual world, and that one day this could include any physical manifestation of love/affection.

Does every generation believe they are witnessing the end of the world?

I resented the idea that a woman’s secret to keeping a man happy is to let him win at “all the silly little games.”  I’m sure they’d like to think so.

Also resented, but did not necessarily disagree with, the coma story and its implications about where men’s and women’s respective priorities lie.  Men are selfish; I don’t pretend we aren’t.  But they aren’t the only ones.  It’s human nature.

The grandmother letter: don’t focus so much on romantic love; friendship and work bring more happiness than romantic love ever will.  Boo!

No such thing as a soul mate?  Boo!

A couple is never one person, always two?  Okay.

I loved how frank the whole table was, frank and open, in their discussion of sex.  Very European.

“In life, we appear and disappear, we are so important to some, but we are just passing through.”  Morbid, even if true.

I was very fascinated by the letter he had written at 20 to his 40-year-old self.  I have written no actual letter, but I think I’ve had “conversations” with other, future versions of myself.  And like him, I think I’m always the same guy.  There is very little evolving, and even less improving.  I am always me.

(This movie deviated from the other two, in that there were more characters, more group discussions, and the movie took place over what felt like a broader landscape.  The other two were very dialogue driven, focusing just on the discussion between the two characters.  I liked this movie, but for me it shone brightest when it was just the two of them).

When you’re young you want life to speed up; when you’re “older” you want it to slow down.

Do you ever feel like every part of your life, even as you’re living it, is either a memory or a dream?

How do we maintain passion?  Hunger?

From the time you leave your parents’ house until you have your own kids is the only part of your life that is completely your own.  True or false?

Sometimes I miss thinking.  Hearing someone think.  Hearing myself think.

More than either of the other two movies, this was a battle of the sexes.  It was both uncomfortable and familiar to watch.

“Women explore for eternity in the vast garden of sacrifice.”  Yikes!

Men just want to have unemotional, rational conversations, and often make the mistake of articulating that desire to a woman mid-argument.

Never tell a woman she is the “f$%#ing mayor of crazy town right now.”

Never ask a woman if she ever listens to herself.

This one hurt.  She tells him: “You are good at taking care of yourself.  I take care of myself, and everything else.”  Ouch!

Also: “Men believe in magic.  Little fairies pick up their socks, do the dishes, sunscreen the kids…”  Oh boy!

In our moments of most heightened frustration, when the other person expresses his/her frustration/dissatisfaction, have we ever found ourselves asking, out loud or to ourselves, “do you think you have sole ownership of that feeling?”  That one I have said almost verbatim.

Is it the natural human state to be discontented?

Where did all the spontaneity go, if there ever was any?

“I’m okay with you being a complicated human being.”  Wow!

Time travel.  Again.

Like him, I sometimes have trouble connecting and being present with those I love most.

Thought the movie was powerful and amazing.  Not fun, not light, not easy.  Not unromantic, but not a simple “here you go,” one-dimensional love story.  And I appreciated that.  Life is complicated.  Love is complicated.  And it is apparently only becoming more so.  All we can do is hold on.


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