Thursday, 25 July 2013

Before Midnight Before Teatime

The weather has remained glorious for another week. It hasn't exactly been cinema weather but we tend to get withdrawal symptoms when we go too long without our regular movie fix. There are quite a few films that we want to see on release at the moment  so we opted for the matinee at the shortest drive which is the Riverside in Woodbridge.

With the temperature on the dashboard reading at 29.5 C we left ourselves plenty of time to explore the riverside harbour. The famous tide mill looked fabulous beneath a cloudless sky.

And we walked along the river bank to the quayside cottage that Paul and Josephine rented a few years ago long before we had any plans to relocate here.

We bought a few bits and pieces for the kitchen in a fantastic kitchenware shop  (The Woodbridge Kitchen Company at 7 Thoroughfare) and then enjoyed an ice cream at The Riverside before the film. If you are in Suffolk and serious about cooking you should check the shop out - it had everything that we were looking for and plenty more besides. It's good to see an independent retailer holding its own on a high street.

The film, Before Midnight, is the third so far in Richard Linklater's series of films charting the love affair between Jake (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) who met almost two decades ago in Before Sunrise. In that film the pair roamed the streets of Vienna after meeting on a train. In Before Sunset we met up with them again and now we find them in Greece. Jake is seeing off his son by his failed marriage on the plane home to the USA after six weeks staying with him and Celine at the idyllic home of a famous novelist. 

After leaving the airport the couple chat briefly about a job that Celine has been offered. They are not married but have twin daughters. Celine wants to take the job in Paris; Jake is interested in spending more time with his son in Chicago. 

There are only five real scenes in the film: the airport , the drive back, a garden conversation,  a dinner party and then the scene that makes the film - the couple has been given a night in a swish hotel as a leaving gift. The hosts are to look after the twins and Jake and Celine are alone together for the remainder of the film. It echoes those earlier films as they set off from the dinner party villa and walk together past ancient ruins and via a chapel to the room. It is so well done that it almost feels as if it is one take. We've been together for longer than Jake and Celine and we both found the conversation very real. There's romance - "will you still love me when I'm 97" , and there's conflict - the job versus the son. And it all works beautifully. The couple have real magic together and the dialogue is funny, sometimes sexy, often romantic and always very very sharp. 

Although I felt that the garden and dinner party scenes somewhat padded out the film unnecessarily as perhaps one hors d'oeuvre too many, it is well worth waiting for the main course. It's an excellent finale. Do try and see it.   

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