Life imitating art imitating life

I recently saw Before Midnight, the third part of a trilogy over almost two decades.  I disliked big chunks of it while viewing it life imitating artand upon reflection, disliked it even more.  To its credit, it’s a film that made me reflect but my main takeaway was to wonder about the nature of clichés.  At first I thought it was just art imitating some watered-down, clichéd version of life but I fear it’s far more circular and self-reinforcing than that.  It is art imitating a watered-down, clichéd version of life, but that life is in part clichéd because it’s been imitating bad, clichéd art.  To be specific, in this movie – which was written by the actors and the director –  men are preoccupied with their penises, women are fly-off-the-handle irrational, and old people are wise (old men are also curmudgeons) with some insight into the true nature of love.  Sigh.  The best art gives us insight into ourselves and those selves I like to think are far more interesting and complex than the two dimensional characters we all seem eager to imitate.

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