I have never done a film review before – only because after every film my only comment would most likely be just limited to these three: it’s really good, I didn’t like it, it’s just so-so. But I guess it’s kinda different for Before Midnight (not just because this is a free movie screening! :P)
I feel that the film was a good break from all my watching of sci-fi and superhero movies lately (with the rubbish Pacific Rim and disappointing The Man of Steel) and I left the cinema feeling good, pondering about life and love, our current state and everything else in between.
Anyway, I do believe this film represents the place where I am right now, maybe at its early stages, which I can somehow relate to. No – I don’t have kids yet and I can fairly say that I am a newlywed, but looking back at the first two prequels, it feels like I can connect more to Before Midnight than the other two films. Before Sunrise was a romantic aspiration of mine – going backpacking through Europe, meeting one blue-eyed guy for a summer fling – which didn’t materialize. Before Sunset, a follow up of the first film obviously, was a continuation of that dream which clearly won’t happen without the first stage setting in place. But with what I have been through (nothing dramatic, trust me, just an ordinary past just like everybody else), I am where Celine and Jesse were right after Before Sunset but I wouldn’t wish on myself to be where they are right now.
Jesse and Celine still have that same chemistry from when they first met 18 years ago and their second meeting nine years back. Equally lovely and charming, the two characters clearly complement each other, either as an on-screen couple and as actors. I have noticed that Jesse still has in him that young boy charm and that I-don’t-care-about-the-world attitude but seasoned in maturity brought about probably by his love and responsibility to Celine and his family. On the other hand, Celine has grown into that strong(er) feminist mom who portrays a more opinionated and compelling persona who is vocal about her beliefs and truths. But throughout the film you will slowly witness the questions, issues, insecurities, and probably weakness, she is harboring behind that brave face. (Although G has formed other opinions about Celine – given the short time he was awake and watched the film). Their relationship clearly is on the rocks – probably a right representation of what the majority of people at that age and phase in life are facing and it really is up to the couple on how to move forward in their situation. And that is where how the movie ended, similar to the first two, leaving you to come up with your own ending.
Of course, not to be missed in the movie are the extremely long takes of just the couple talking about marriage, sex, relationships, what ifs, what could have been, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of their conversation, it feels like I am eavesdropping and listening in to someone else’s hopes, dreams, difficulties. But at the same time, it left me thinking about my relationships – with beloved G (who was asleep during the first half of the movie!), my family, friends – and comparing/contrasting ours to theirs. It is easy to relate to the characters as they could be just any other ordinary couple talking about ordinary and yet important things that will move and change the direction of their lives. The argument, on the other hand is quite revealing and so perceptive that sometimes I find myself wincing deep inside overthinking about G and I! lol
The conversation of that group of people – representing different age groups and relationship status – in that dinner scene is rather insightful. From the very basic topic – what is the notion of self – to subjects about aging and death, the energetic discussion of the group puts Jesse and Celine’s relationship into a a bigger perspective, making it even more universal(?). The natural flow of conversation between all characters is simply believable and you can’t help but join in (inside your head).
Despite the lengthy dialogues in the film, it is more than enough to hold your attention for two hours and learn more about the reality of love, which is complex, life, which is uncontrollable and romance, which is unstable.
P.S. I just love the preview theatre of Shaw Cinema – it felt like we were professional movie critics. lol Thanks omy.sg for the invite! 🙂
By Guest Reviewer: GBibby
There are no unattractive women in Ted. Even though the viewer is asked to suspend logic enough to believe in the concept of a boy’s favourite teddy bear magically coming to life, perhaps the greatest leap of faith demanded of the audience is to imagine that every woman is a slender smoking hot babe in a country that has an obesity level of 35%.
Just as Ted blinds itself to the physical decline of the United States and western civilisation, it also blindingly highlights the west’s cultural decline inherent in every single scene. Ted is the product of a society where nothing is sacred, everything is to be mocked, and the post-modern liberal geniuses of today can point and laugh at the excesses of past. The creator, Seth MacFarlane, has already established himself with the cartoon Family Guy as a name in humour based on sneering references to the 1980s and irreverent swipes at anything people not as clever or post-modern as Seth may hold dear. The entire movie continues in the same vein of Family Guy and seems to be have been written by a group of smug and self-congratulating East Coast liberals: high-fiving at every retro-reference that can be pointed to and laughed at. Did you really find Flash Gordon a fun film in 1980? Then you deserve to be mocked as the idiot you obviously were. Do you find a reference to Star Wars more funny than character based humour that adds to the overall development of the plot? Then this is the film for you.
Unlike many of those 1980s films that Ted machine-gun references, Ted contains no real heart and no actual substance. For those that don’t know, the plot consists of a boy whose childhood dream of his teddy bear coming to life becomes reality, and it continues into adulthood where the relationship between the now grown-up boy and his bear threatens to get in the way of the relationship between the now grown-up boy and his boring, ever-whining girlfriend. With hilarious consequences! I could go on, but really, what’s the point? Seth MacFarlane couldn’t be bothered to write a decent film and instead just cobbled together a truck-load of 1980s references, so why shouldn’t I do the same? Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rubik’s Cubes, Knight Rider, Cheers, Teddy Ruxpin, Superman 2, Top Gun, I Think We’re Alone Now and the Cabbage Patch Kids. Three Stars out of Ten and I’m deducting a point because Seth MacFarlane recycled his Peter Griffin voice for the voice of Ted AND still made some smug meta-reference to it instead of just admitting that he’s a fat, smug arsehole. But then again, there are no fat people in Ted, so why would he?*
*Actually, there is one fat person in Ted: a chubby boy who serves as the film’s antagonist. I’m surprised that Seth didn’t make him black and call him Fat Albert, but perhaps he’d already reached his 80s reference quota.
By IamJoyceee: Thanks OMY.SG for the invite. 🙂