Before Midnight

Before Midnight

(2013)

Director Richard Linklater revisits distant lovebirds Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) in Greece, nine years after being reacquainted in Before Sunset (2004) and almost two decades since they first met on the train in Before Sunrise (1995).... More

After spending the "best summer ever" with him in Greece, Jesse sees his son off back to his mother in the U.S. But as he returns to Celine and their two twin daughters, the global sense of separation begins to weight down on him. Treated to a luxurious seaside hotel by their Greek friends, Jesse and Celine head down for a night of romance while their kids are looked after. But what was intended as an evening of passion – akin to Jesse’s novels – turns into an uncomfortable confrontation as their fears and insecurities begin to surface…Hide

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Flicks Review

It’s doubtful that anyone cares more for longitudinal love birds Jesse and Celine than Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, for this third entry in the Before series continues to treat them with devoted dignity, even when life threatens to render their devotion less dignified.... More

As the film opens, Jesse and Celine catch us up to speed with the nine years we missed, shooting the delightful shit for almost the entire first act. It serves as reassurance that their conversational chemistry has not deteriorated, largely due to the continued quality of their superbly-written/ad-libbed exchanges.

However, while the autobiographical ‘honeymoon’ stories of Sunrise and Sunset acted as creative fuel for Jesse’s two best-selling novels, the concepts for his next book reflect murkiness in the pair’s relationship, one that grows salient during an innocent brunch session. This segues into the film’s golden scene: a roundtable discussion of love that presents brilliantly-argued ideals of romance, spanning and varying across generations.

When the two are finally alone, the worrying undertones that dose the dense script become overt in confrontational fashion, and it all strikes true – perhaps too true when the arguments diverge into bickering over who cooks dinner and picks up the dirty socks. It’s uncomfortable to watch, but that’s Linklater’s intent as he exposes their fears, regrets and potential resentments with surgical precision. As one of the most thought-provoking movies I’ve seen all year, Before Midnight takes its traditional romantic tale into more insightful territories, with romance being the film's subject more than its genre.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 10 ratings, 13 reviews
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This film felt really refreshing to watch, why don't other movies have dialogue that feels so easy and natural? It is a credit to the actors, who after creating their characters almost 20 years ago, have grown with them and allowed them to develop into real people that it is impossible not to identify with on some level.

I thought about this movie a lot after seeing it and truly hope that Richard Linklater finds the inspiration to make another one, in say, another 20 years.


BY shmu nobody

Really slow in the begining, almost boring, however as the movie progressed I found it was most enjoyable and in places laugh out loud funny. The audience related it the fiklm as well as there were audible gasps and titters during the arguing scenes!


WTF

There were three scenes and the last scene was of an argument, if I wanted to listen to someone argue I would go talk to my ex because that is what it felt like! I have never seen a movie that was funny and boring at the same time!


Nine years have passed since our last visit with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), an astonishing 18 years have skipped by since our first meeting, and I can't think of another film series that better captures the passage of time than Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy. What started as a sweet and fanciful romance has evolved into one of the most relatable, perceptive, and in the case of latest entry Before Midnight, heart-wrenching studies of relationship... More dynamics to grace the screen.

Given that the last film, 2004's Before Sunset, left us with no clear idea of the direction Jesse and Celine's lives would take, it's difficult to talk about story specifics in Midnight without giving away some of its most enjoyable surprises. Little has changed in the structure of the film however, and we're once again asked to simply observe the meandering conversations of the duo in an evocative location (this time a sleepy Grecian village), and experience drama through dialogue. And oh boy, once the dialogue kicks into high gear, it's like a freight train pointed right at your heart.

Again, trying not to give too much away, Jesse and Celine have grown more in the last nine years than they did in the previous nine, and for that reason Midnight might be the most effective of Linklater's trilogy. The sanctity of this apparently perfect pairing, as set up 18 years ago, feels like it's being undermined from every corner in the film's slow-burn opening act, with any romantic idealism eroded by the cold rationality of youth, the contented acceptance of middle-aged Gen-X, and the omnipresence of mortality and decay.

Jesse and Celine, while still grappling with self-involvement, have much more to consider than themselves this time around. After a slightly more expansive opening, the second half of the film narrows to the couple only, and more than ever the locations say as much as the words. They mourn the passage of their youth while strolling amongst crumbling ruins, gleefully discuss the joys of their present lives in quaint, hedge rimmed alleys, and noisily debate their problems in a stagnant, characterless hotel room.

It's this last location where Midnight's most effective section takes place. Having in a sense grown alongside these characters, always remembering the beautiful spontaneity of that night in Vienna 18 years ago, to see Jesse and Celine tear themselves apart in such a banal setting is a painful, but absolutely riveting, experience. Every biting comment is heavy with genuine stakes and watching it play out feels almost too voyeuristic to handle, but there's such rawness to the performances that you can't look away. It's certainly not as hopeful as the last two films, but the unvarnished honesty is a change that Linklater needed to make.

Whether or not we'll find ourselves encountering Jesse and Celine again in another nine years is anyone's guess, and I suspect that even Linklater, Hawke and Delpy wouldn't have an answer. Before Midnight unsurprisingly leaves much unanswered but doesn't feel unfinished, and only another nine years of growth from the filmmakers (and their audience) will determine if there's more to say. Moving away from the fairy-tale beginnings and closer to the challenges of a real relationship, the series itself has matured into a complex, many flavoured stew. Just like adult life is supposed to be.Hide


Thought provoking, sometimes amusing wonderfully written drama with superb performances by the actors to boot


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The Press Reviews

98% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • A rich, smart, funny, sometimes acidic portrayal of a couple who can be spectacular when they’re in tune — and toxic when they’re at each other’s throats. Full Review

  • A bit tarter than its predecessors, but not skimping on their woozy, chatty charm, this perfectly played, gently incisive film is a welcome new chapter in one of cinema’s most beguiling ongoing romances. See it with someone you’ve loved for some time. Full Review

  • Before Midnight is intimate and intelligent, and also undemanding in the best possible way. Full Review

  • That’s the subtle level this movie operates on, and by the time it arrives at its powerhouse climax, a ruinous argument in a hotel room where all lingering doubts are finally and furiously outed, there’s nowhere left for them to ramble. They’re pinned down and have to improvise, but this glorious movie has infinite space to roam. Full Review

  • A more-than-worthy, expectations-exceeding chapter in one of modern cinema’s finest love stories. As honest, convincing, funny, intimate and natural as its predecessors. Full Review

  • Honoring all that was memorable about its forebears while taking the story to new depths of catharsis, Before Midnight stands as a unique and uniquely satisfying entry in what has shaped up to be an outstanding screen trilogy. Full Review

  • Though this stage is harder to watch, audiences who have aged along with Celine and Jesse will treasure this new episode. Full Review

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