Then I stumbled onto another fantastic symbolic film, Her.
However, what prompted me to this short post is a viewing- or attempted viewing- of Before Midnight. It began engagingly enough, with Hawke's character leaving his son at the Kalamata airport. Then there's a car conversation between the two parental protagonists, who are in a long term relationship.
The film uses the old ploy of featuring a writer; so does Her. The couple and their twin girls visit a charming seaside home of close friends; the elderly resident is also a writer. There was a wee bit of symbolism in the car talk; something about cats in Delpy's character's childhood. Cats and the moon are probably the most ubiquitous of feminine symbols.
However, there was very little else in the symbolism department- a symbolic lost leader! About 2/3 of the way into the film, it morphs into one long argument between the two (Delpy and Hawke's characters). Since I got divorced on account of my distaste for just that sort of brick wall-banging crap, I quit the scene. I cannot vouch for later developments.
Director and writer Linklater has created an exposition on the nature of feminine and masculine, mostly their polarization in the archetypal sense. That's why the thing is mostly one big argument. He briefly offers some ways humans create balance between the two, in individuals and in partnerships. He touches on some social commentary issues, mostly in the table scene at the Greek seaside location, an excellently done scene. However, I experienced the film generally as a much less symbolic take off on Certified Copy, one of the films I review in my e book collection. Notice (in the trailer) the cat in Binoche's arms!
B. M.'s Linklater et. al present some beautiful philosophical points, the strongest aspect of the film. There's plenty of life wisdom dramatized with touching sensitivity, a good screenplay, and very good acting. However for me the spell that is thus woven is then dis-spelled in the couple's redundant bickering. They would have done best to make a shorter film. It's part of a trilogy. There were two others previous to this; Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), which I have not seen. Hawke and Delpy did a great job, but I am not tempted to watch the previous two. In part that's because I'm not really a romantic film buff- there's got to be more going on to keep me there (like symbolism of course). I think it's cool that the trilogy is pretty much in real time; I bet it was fun for the makers to get to do that. I appreciate the realism- back in the day, there weren't often such realistic arguments, for example. However, these days all you have to do is catch an argument on a recording, and BINGO!- real life argument for writers.
That realism was for me, as I said, a problem, though. C.C.'s argument segments are way shorter. If you are happy to listen to long arguments that belabor the same point over and over, as arguments always do, then check out the film. It includes some beautiful bits. To show how petty I am, I'm going to add one more comment. Realism aside- could we please get Hawke's hair cut differently? If not, then just plain cut? Guys with that sort of hair look like they are wearing their grandmother's wig when it gets to that length.