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I absolutely love this movie, but one think that I keep wondering is whether Celine is being made out as the villain too much through out it, especially in the final argument scene (I've tried to include as much of it as I could below):

  • Part 1 -
  • Part 2 -
  • Part 3 -
  • Part 4 -

Happy to be proven wrong but here are a few reasons why it appears this way to me:

  1. Jesse appears to be trying to taking a defensive position more of the time
  2. He tries to use his humour to turn the conversation around and deescalate things
  3. He mentions positive things about Celine, as oppose to only negative
  4. He tells her he still loves her, is committed to her etc
  5. The scene ends focussed on Jesse's reaction as if to make us sympathize with him more?

I'm not a relationship coach or anything so may have missed something, but overall I am wondering if it is intentional that Celine isn't portrayed in a way that is as easy to sympathize with as Jesse since it feels a little unfair to her character. If she being vilified?

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No, not intentionally.

I think the filmmakers were trying to use their relationship as a way to examine male-female relationships generally and the possibility of lasting relationships (see the dinner-table conversation at the start). But Celine has a lot working against her in dramatic-emotional terms, so she comes off the worse. Consider:

  1. Jesse gets a really affecting scene at the start of the film with his son, so we want him to succeed in spending more time with him.
  2. Jesse seems to be the one trying to make the relationship hold together, but Celine seems to think it's not worth it. She might be right, but we spent two prior films rooting for this couple to make it.
  3. Celine is not prepared to throw away her career for the sake of the relationship, but we haven't seen if her career is worth it. She's told us about her work, we hear about her projects, but we haven't seen them; they are vague to us. Compare this to Jesse - sure, we haven't read his book but we've experienced the story in 'Before Sunrise', and he tells us about his other story ideas. We have insight into his career, but not Celine's.

These three things mean we are inclined to be on Jesse's side in the argument. Celine has only the strength of her words to win us over, Jesse has the dramatic and emotional stakes on his.

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    Great answer. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not by the film makers, but I feel that the movie would have been even better/more realistic if it had presented both character's arguments in a more balanced way to the viewer. It feels that the movie is trying to say what is challenging in relationships from both the male and female perspective yet sets things up to make it feel more like one is right and the other needs to see that. Even at the very end when Celine cools down, she resorts to talking like a bimbo to keep their conversation from escalating again. A few missed opportunities
    – FrontEnd
    Jul 14 at 6:55
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    Yes, all we have to go on with Celine are her words. All her complaints are based on things that have supposedly happened in the previous 9 years, but we haven't seen any of them.
    – magarnicle
    Jul 14 at 22:38

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