Before Midnight: Movie Review
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Ariane Labed
Director: Richard Linklater
18 years ago, a film made romantics everywhere swoon.
The nearly a decade after Before Sunrise, came the sequel - and once again, hearts were a-flutter with the film Before Sunset when the duo of Jesse and Celine finally made it.
Now, we rejoin them some 9 years later for the conclusion of the trilogy and finding that happily ever after never quite works as well as it should. It starts with Ethan Hawke's slightly older Jesse bidding farewell to his son at an airport, before joining the love of his life Celine (Julie Delpy) for the final days of their summer writing vacation in Greece.
With two young daughters, both are happy but are approaching a crossroads in their cosy life. Jesse's finding the departure from his son a lot more emotionally draining than before and it leaves him contemplating packing their lives up in France and relocating to America.
However, that nagging thought soon becomes a widening chasm between the pair...
Before Midnight is an effortless conclusion to the trilogy which has now spanned some two decades.
Linklater, Hawke and Delpy know we are all invested on these characters so we don't have to reassociare ourselves with them; nor do they have to bother with back story, choosing to fill in the gap from the last film with throaway lines, glances and dialogue as opposed to exposition.
But it's the film-making which also shines brilliantly here; long, swooping uninterrupted tracking shots follow Delpy and Hawke as they take a walk / drive and they build an intimicacy and comfort with the pair which is hard to deny.
The dialogue and situations which arise and escalate from their sojourn on the Greek isle are all simply handled for maximum effect: a talk about the future which begins amorously soon builds to an horrific row which feels all too realistic and relatable. Some times they are on the same page, other times poles apart.
Theoretical discussions sit alongside juxtapositions of beautiful sunsets and it's all so easy to get lost in as these rambling raconteurs and romantics lose themselves on bouts of verbal jousting or heart to heart moments. Sure, Hawke and Delpy may be a little older and greyer but they've lost none of the cinematic charm which has found this couple so ingrained on our psyche and make them feel so real.
Before Midnight is a superb closing chapter; a wonderfully poignant and truthful rumination on life, death and most importantly, love. It's cinema to rhapsodize to, art to fall in love with and an experience to be treasured.