Before Midnight (film)

2013 film directed by Richard Linklater

Before Midnight is a 2013 film that continues the story in Before Sunset nine years on when Jesse and Céline spend a summer vacation together in Greece.

Directed by Richard Linklater. Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke.


  • You know what I think? I think from the time we leave our parents house until we have kids - that's the only time your life is completely your own. You know I think I had about a decade of that. It was great. It was just like one long, flowing... a day, a week, a year, there wasn't much difference.
  • I remember thinking: this is the natural human state - always a little dissatisfied, perpetually discontented, you know?


  • Natalia: Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.


Céline: Most women who achieve anything in life, the first time you hear about them, they're in their 50's, because it was so hard for them to get any recognition before then. They struggle for 30 years or they raise kids and were stranded at home before they could finally do what they want. Actually, you know what? It's kind of freeing. We don't have to spend our lives comparing ourselves to Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Tolstoy...
Jesse: What about Joan of Arc, right, she was a teenager and she saved France, so...
Céline: Who wants to be Joan of Arc? Forget France, she was burnt at the stake and a virgin, okay. Nothing I aspired to. What a great achievement!

Céline: If we were meeting for the first time today on a train, would you find me attractive?
Jesse: Of course.
Céline: No, but really, right now as I am? Would you start talking to me? Would you ask me to get off the train with you?
[Both laugh]
Jesse: Well, I mean, you're asking a theoretical question. I mean, what would my life situation be? I mean technically, wouldn't I be cheating on you?
Céline: Okay. Why can't you just say "yes"?
Jesse: No, I did. I said, "of course"! That was -
Céline: No-no-no! I wanted you to say something romantic and you blew it.
Jesse: Oh, okay. Alright, wait - if I saw you on a train, okay, listen. I would lock eyes with you.
Céline: Uh-huh.
Jesse: And then I'd walk right up to you and I'd say, "Hey, baby. You are making me as horny as a billy goat in a briar patch."
[He grabs her butt.]
Céline: Stop it, that's disgusting! Billy goat. No, the truth is, you failed the test. And the fact is, you would not pick me up on a train. You wouldn't even notice me, a fat-assed middle-aged mom, losing her hair.
Jesse: Okay. [Laughing] Losing her hair?
Céline: Yeah, that's me!
Jesse: You set me up to fail. Honestly, you did.
Céline: Okay, true. True.
Jesse: Alright? Alright? But in the real world, baldy, on game day when it mattered, I did talk to you on a train. I did that, it was the best thing I ever did.

Céline: So if we're going to spend another fifty-six more years together...
Jesse: Yeah?
Céline: What about me would you like to change?
Jesse: [Smirks] That's another one of your can't-win questions. I'm not answering that.
Céline: What do you mean? There's not one thing you'd like to change about me? I'm perfect?
Jesse: Okay.
Céline: Okay.
Jesse: Actually...
Céline: One thing.
Jesse: If I could change one thing about you...
Céline: Uh-huh.
Jesse: It would be for you to stop trying to change me.
Céline: You're a very skilled manipulator, you know that?
Jesse: Well, I'm onto you. I know how you work.
Céline: You think?
Jesse: Yeah. I know everything about you.

Céline: Do you remember this friend of mine? George, from New York.
Jesse: No.
Céline: Oh, no, that was before. That was before.
Jesse: What was?
Céline: He was this friend of mine that, when he found out he had leukemia, and he was probably going to die, he confessed to me that the first thing that came to his mind was relief.
Jesse: Relief? But why?
Céline: Well, before he found out he had nine months to live he was always so worried about money, and now his thought was, great! I have more than enough money to live for the next nine months, I've made it!
Jesse: [laughing] Oh, okay.
Céline: And then he was finally able to enjoy everything about life, even like being stuck in traffic. He would just enjoy looking at people... staring at their faces. Just little things.

Jesse: So this is how you now want to be spending this evening? I mean, this is what you wanna do tonight?
Céline: Well, you started it.
Jesse: No. You are the one who will not shut up about it. But if you want to talk about it, I mean, really talk about it. I would prefer to have an unemotional, rational conversation. I mean, do you think we can do that? Would that be possible?
Céline: Here we go. Unemotional, rational. You always play the part of the one and only rational one and I'm the irrational, hysterical, hormone-crazy one because I have emotions. Yeah, you sit back and you speak from your big perspective which means everything you say is level-headed and true.
Jesse: I don't always do anything.
Céline: The world is fucked by unemotional rational men deciding shit, alright? Politicians going to war for no reason, corporate heads deciding to wreck the environment, Cheney, Rumsfeld - very rational men.
Jesse: Cheney and Rumsfeld? Yeah, okay.
Céline: The final solution? Very rational thinking behind it.

Céline: Very few people realize what it is like for an active or passionate woman to have a child. Some friends told me, "you'll see, you'll want to throw them out the window." Okay, but the truth is I never wanted to hurt them once but I thought about ending it all for myself a hundred times. I was so confused, and you were always away on a stupid book tour or because of Henry's custody shit and I didn't want to be a burden. Now I know why Sylvia Plath put her head in a toaster.
Jesse: It was an oven.
Céline: Don't play with words. You know what I mean - toaster, oven. Same thing. You know how many times I was alone with the girls crying with no clue what to do? Do you know the guilt a mother feels when she doesn't know what to do?
Jesse: Do you think you have sole ownership of that feeling?
Céline: I don't think you understand, okay? You know what my secret fear is? With every man? Is that they all want to turn me into a submissive housewife.
Jesse: Okay, no one could ever do that, all right? I promise, it would be easier to fit your head into a toaster than to turn you into anything submissive.
Céline: I don't think I've recovered since giving birth. When they were born, I had no idea what to do. People expect women to have instinct that kicks in, like a female baboon. But I had no idea how to do anything. I loved them so much, and I was doing everything wrong. And you were away so often, calling me, asking me how my day went, and I couldn't even say it to you because I felt so ashamed for being so clueless.
Jesse: Look, I think you did great.
Céline: No, I didn't.
Jesse: No, you did. Well, you did a good job faking it, then.
Céline: I remember the only way I could get them to sleep was to drag that stupid double stroller down the stairs and walk them for hours and hours in the middle of the night, all the way to Pigalle and back. I almost got mugged once... I mean, the only reason why the guy didn't attack me was is that I looked so pathetic. The only upside of being over 35 is that you don't get raped as much. I read it - its true.

Jesse: I am giving you my whole life OK? I got nothing larger to give, I'm not giving it to anybody else. If you're looking for permission to disqualify me, I'm not gonna give it to you. OK? I love you. And I'm not in conflict about it. OK? But if what you want is like a laundry list of all the things that piss me off, I can give it to you.
Céline: Yeah, I want to hear.
Jesse: Okay well, number 1, you're fucking nuts! You are. Good luck! Find somebody else to put up with your shit for more than like 6 months, okay? But I accept the whole package, the crazy and the brilliant. I know you're not gonna change and I don't want you to. It's called accepting you for being you.

Jesse: You're just like the little girls and everybody else. You wanna live inside some fairy tale. I'm just trying to make things better. I tell you that I love you unconditionally, I tell you that you're beautiful, I tell you that your ass looks great when you're 80. I try to make you laugh.
Céline: OK.
Jesse: All right, I put up with plenty of your shit. And if you think I'm just some dog who's gonna keep coming back, then you're wrong. But if you want true love, then this is it. This is real life. It's not perfect, but it's real. And if you can't see it, then you're blind, all right, and I give up.

Jesse: Do you think it could be tonight that you're still talking about in your 80s?
Céline: Well, it must have been one hell of a night we're about to have.



See also

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