Before Midnight (2013)

Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke
Starring: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke

This is the third installment of the 20 year relationship between Jesse and Celine.  We were first captivated by this couple when they met on a train in 1995.  In 2004, they reunited in Paris.  Now in 2014, we meet them again in Greece.   The movie, which is essentially a dialogue about relationships, men, women and a study in character development, is interesting in its uniqueness, honesty and its ability to engage our attention for a sweeping 2hours, despite being more suited to the stage.

What I liked:  These characters (and actors) are so comfortable with each other that you inevitably feel as though you’ve stumbled into their bedroom.  They are interesting, quirky, maddening and humourous, and have been since the beginning; only now they have matured and grown together.  Their dialogue is less self-conscious than the first, and less excited than the second. They have come into their own, so much so that it’s hard to remember that Jesse and Celine are characters.  I had forgotten Hawke’s charm as an actor and Delpy’s grace.  Linklater, once again, does a tremendous job easing the story forward by following the movements of a relationship in its natural habitat.  It is mesmerizing, heartbreaking and uplifting.

What I didn’t like:  The high ratings.  This will surely disappoint many who expect something quite different than what is actually presented onscreen.  What has elevated the ratings in this case, are those people who have seen the previous two or simply those who are excited about the possibility of filmmaking.   Linklater’s latest visit with these two characters exceeded my expectations.  The movie is not perfect and at times I was frustrated by the poignantly natural dialogue but Before Midnight is the smoothest and most heartfelt of the three.

My rating:  Couldn’t resist re-watching (and loving) the other two immediately after.

IMDb: 8.5     tomato: 98%

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