Don’t Pass Me By (Part II)

(Part II of my review of Before Midnight)

When it gets more personal–when it gets to fewer comas and more real-life drama–and when it gets to the affable, delightful boyfriend duking it out with his narcissistic other half, there’s an end result: the female is inferior. We love the boyfriend. We think the girlfriend is a bitch.

It’s true. I loved listening to Jesse deliver his lines. It was charm, not content, however, that won me over. Celine, his girlfriend? Too needy?

That’s just how she came off.

But if we think about it from a factual stance, Celine was balancing taking care of her two kids in Paris and working. Jesse was attempting to care for his son, but the details were complicated because of a previous marriage and the son dividing time between the States and Paris and that’s another story.

Celine specifically complained about doing everything for her kids, who were also his kids, but you didn’t see the connection or any interaction–at least among Jesse and his twin daughters.  Celine also mentions that she’s depressed and compares herself to Sylvia Plath, who put her head in the oven to kill herself.

But the moment is lost in translation. To clarify, Celine is trying to say that she feels like Sylvia Plath and that she feels like sticking her head in the oven. Only when she is speaking in English (because her native tongue is French), she accidentally says she wants to stick her head in the “toaster oven”. This is mocked by her b.f., who claims that it’s really an oven. Just an oven. Your head won’t fit inside a toaster. But you can try it.

Except for the “you can try it” comment, all of that was true.

If someone I loved or anyone told me he/she was suicidal, the last thing I would do would be to make light of the situation. But make light of petty women’s comments? That’s the name of cinema…and of the real world.

It should also be noted that we see the woman half-naked but nothing of the man. She is exposed. He is not.

What’s almost comical is the casualness of her exposure. There’s at least five minute’s worth of an argument continuing on. And she’s topless for a good chunk of time. That I just don’t understand.

And finally, let’s examine the ending. It was great how you thought it was going to be a goofy cliche interpolated book inside a book. But when it wasn’t, you thought it was brilliant.

Don’t pass me by.

It’s not brilliant how a woman impetuously gets back together with her long-time boyfriend after a long fight manifests the unequal distribution of power because why? He compliments her ass. Her nice French ass. And what’s better? On that night, he promises her the best sex of her life.



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