Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) first met in their twenties in 'Before Sunrise'; Reunited in their thirties in 'Before Sunse't; and, now, in director Richard Linklater's amazing 'Before Midnight', they face the past, present and future; family, romance and love. Now on a writer's retreat in Greece, the couple looks for a night of passion, but instead their idyllic night turns into a test of their relationship and a discussion of what the future holds for them.
The third and hopefully not final chapter in the Before series by director Richard Linklater and stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke is not just the best so far but also one of the best films of 2013 as it progresses the lives of Celeste and Jesse to a place untouched by not just the series but films in general.
Before Midnight follows Celeste (Delpy) and Jesse (Hawke) on the last day of their vacation in Greece with their two children at a writers retreat. As a present from one of their fellow guests, the two find themselves walking and talking around a small Greek village as their complex lives proceed to implode around them leading to a turning point in this once intoxicating love story.
What makes Before Midnight so special isn’t the fact that its writing is exceptionally good, which it is, it’s that the film puts so much effort into making the minutia of these peoples lives so important and so utterly compelling. Despite the fact we have known these characters for almost 2 decades they still have so much more to say.
Linklater wisely moves the series on from the constant push and pull of these two courting each other to a drama all about the day to day struggle to maintain a relationship and the feelings required to make such a relationship worthwhile. Filled with smartly written dialogue that continues the improvised feel of the series, Midnight never fails to surprise as the two twist and turn as romance turns to anger and hope transforms into despair.
While the first two films managed to maintain the dream like atmosphere their famed walks have introduced, Before Midnight drops the two into the real world and forces them to act like adults which ultimately proves to be much more satisfying to this reviewer because despite the new direction of this series there is still a glimmer of hope for Celeste and Jesse and I will happily watch what comes next.