This evening, I met my friend Dave at the Nitehawk cinema in Williamsburg. The venue is famous for its midnight showings of classics and also its original take on cinema snacks – you can order and eat dinner while you watch. So it seemed like a perfect Sunday activity sheltering from the threatened rain.
We went to see Before Midnight – a new instalment of the love story between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who we first met in Before Sunrise in 1995 and then saw again in Before Sunset in 2004.
As the lights dimmed, we checked out the menu at our mini table and healthily opted for sodas, tater tots and queso (haven’t I come far?). We placed our order sheet in a stand on the table and the servers whisked them away in the dark. Minutes later and we were served.
There’s a lot I like about this idea – the servers were very discreet, and the menu was good and the prices reasonable. It seems odd more places don’t do it.
But as the table beside me ordered the food, I suddenly remembered something terrifying: That I have a severe case of misophonia, or the irrational hatred of hearing people eat. You’d have thought that the girl’s order of salad would be harmless enough, but she was loving it. Finger licking, mouth smacking and teeth-against-fork scraping. And then she started on some chips. Oh. good. god. Who knows what happened in the last half of the movie.
What I do remember of it, I liked. It takes a look at the couple many years after they randomly met each other on a train (in the first film) and began a relationship after bumping into each again ten years later (the second film). Now they have kids and careers – but different desires for the future. The film charts one afternoon in their lives – and asks a lot of the audience with very long scenes filled with intense dialogue.
Even though the discussions would probably never happen in real life, the dialogue was great and I laughed a lot. It was kind of depressing though – how some characters accepted that they were going to be broken up at some point in the future. And how the lead characters seemed to be settling for each other partly because of that amazing moment they had together on the train many, many years before.
Another problem was this. Today’s the day I also learned that the reason a semi-relationship recently petered out was because he was keen on a lesbian. Yes, really! Not yet able to laugh at that objectively hilarious nugget of information, my disillusion drove my response to the film and what I saw as its lacking relationships.
So yes, the experience was a little more fraught than I’d have liked! But I would definitely go back again – I’ll just make sure the seat next to me is empty. Which, considering my ability to keep ’em, probably won’t be too hard.