Before Midnight

  • Year:2013
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Richard Linklater
  • Cast:Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Athina Rachel Tsangari
  • Release Date:July 18, 2013
  • Distributor:Hopscotch/eOne
  • Running time:108 minutes
  • Film Worth:$20.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

An ambitious, intelligent and beautifully crafted sequel that loses none of the charm of its predecessors, but offers something darker and more challenging.

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2004’s Before Sunset was that rare and exceptional sequel that surpassed and enriched its original, 1996’s Before Sunrise. The task of following up these two films, about an American guy and his French love, felt like a risk of epic proportions. But such concerns are instantly quashed by Before Midnight, a sublime sequel that’s every bit as rich, resonant and captivating as its predecessors.

Stepping back into the lives of this pair nine years on, we learn that Jesse (Ethan Hawke) did miss that fateful flight at the end of Before Sunset, and is now married to Celine (Julie Delpy) with twin daughters. We reconnect with them on the final day of a holiday in Greece, which begins with a pained Jesse dropping his teenage son from his previous failed marriage at the airport to return to Chicago, a situation that provides the catalyst for the tension to come.  

It’s remarkable to revisit these characters, which Delpy and Hawke wear as second skins, and witness how their qualities and flaws have deepened and become more ingrained – Jesse’s more of a dreaming idealist, while Celine’s feminism has a brittle edge. These traits that the couple once found endearing now irritate one another in petty and profound ways. It’s in these details that one sees the ambitious scope of what Richard Linklater has achieved: the depiction of how the passage of time affects a relationship. Before Sunrise captured the magic of forging an instant connection, Before Sunset chronicled the bittersweet flush of reigniting that flame, and Before Midnight relays the grueling day-to-day grind of keeping a fraying relationship alive. It’s a brave, challenging and essential installment in what is one of modern cinema’s finest trilogies.

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