5 Things To Do Before Seeing ‘Before Midnight’

by Jessica Marshall

Hollywood has produced some epic fictional couples. Rick and Ilsa. Harry and Sally. Jesse and Celine. Oh how we sigh over Jesse and Celine.

The star-crossed, self-discovery-obsessed lovers are back for a third European sojourn in “Before Midnight,” 18 years after they first met by chance on a Vienna-bound train (in 1995’s “Before Sunrise”). Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine, whom we find this time traveling with their family in Greece.

Before you get carried away by the kismet, here are five things to do:

Watch “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”
If you want to have any idea what’s going on in “Before Midnight,” you’re going to have to watch the two films that precede it. Jesse and Celine meet in “Before Sunrise” (1995) and reunite nine years later in Paris in “Before Sunset” (2004). “Before Midnight” picks up 9 years after that on a Greek isle, where the pair is once again together at crossroads in their lives.

Buy a Eurail pass
The trilogy of films is as much a European travelogue as it is a romance. Grab a backpack, a guidebook and a train pass and start planning a trip of your own. The best way to see as much of Europe as possible is by rail. Even if you don’t find actual romance there, you’ll certainly get swept away by the genuine charm of the Old World.

Learn French
There is little that rolls off the tongue better than the language d’amour. The worldly Celine (Julie) is a French native, and we are occasionally treated to her delicious mother tongue in the films. Pick up a little of that Francais and you will soon be oozing sophistication out your pores! Plus, it will help you on your European vacay.

Have a deep conversation
Much of “Before Midnight” and its prequels revolve around the intense conversations shared by Jesse and Celine. Sparks fly between breaths. Bare your soul in a chat and you will see why these movies don’t need much more than good conversation to be epic.

Envision where you’ll be in nine years
We got to see Jesse and Celine every nine years—and if Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and director Richard Linklater can help it, we’ll see them in another nine—and half the fun is seeing how much their lives have changed, and how much they’ve remained the same over time. The future is full of romantic possibilities. Where will you be in just a hair shy of a decade? We’re hoping we’ll be on an extended vacation on a romantic Greek isle too…

Do you plan to see “Before Midnight”?