1. With the exception of Sideways, no other 2004 movie spoke to me quite so eloquently as Before Sunset, an 80-minute story about two disappointed-in-life thirtysomethings (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) reuniting 10 years after falling in love in Vienna, one of my favorite European capitals, as underrated as the film’s stars. When I saw Before Sunset, I’d just ended my second relationship with the guy I was in love with when Before Sunrise came out in 1995. Oh, and during both romances, we went on holiday together to Paris, where Before Sunset was filmed and set. Incidentally, I haven’t been back since that second trip.
2. Before Midnight, coming in 2013, will be set in Greece, and I’ve been meaning to go back since my first trip there in 2000. Though I’ve recently been sidetracked by South America, Australia and Southeast Asia, Europe will always be my favorite continent.
3. I’m the same age as the series stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, so I feel like I’m growing right along with their fictional characters, Jesse and Celine. I’m much better off (so far) in my 40s than I was in my 30s, free of unrealistic expectations and self-imposed boundaries and restrictions. Yes, folks, it does get better. That disappointment that was creeping in around 35 has been tempered with cautious optimism. I’m curious to see if my own emotional journey parallels those of Jesse and Celine.
4. Good screenplays are hard to come by. Hawke and Delpy were Oscar-nominated for co-writing the Before Sunset screenplay with director Richard Linklater. There are a lot of things I loved about the words, but most of all, I appreciated the very real, very messy portrait of encroaching middle age and tentative romantic yearning. It was a competitive year for Best Actress candidates, with Annette Bening (Being Julia), Kate Winslet (The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) all in the running (even Million Dollar Baby‘s Hilary Swank, whom I’ve never fancied too much, deserved to be there), but I still think Delpy should have had a shot. Maybe the third time will be her charm?
5. My friend and former colleague Mara, who is the movie critic for Us Weekly and who alerted me to the very existence of Before Midnight only hours ago, has promised to take me to the first screening if I’m around for it. If that’s not incentive to get back to New York City, I don’t know what is!