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The Director and Stars Still Have It
Michael_Elliott16 June 2013
Before Midnight (2013)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

The third film in Richard Linklater's series continues the relationship between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). I would give more details about the actual plot, the way they meet up and so on but this here would pretty much give away some spoilers that I'm sure fans of the last film don't want to know going in. After all, we've been waiting nearly a decade for this latest installment so why take away the surprise before seeing the film? I will say that this film doesn't come close to the major that was the last but we really shouldn't blame this film because it was going to be hard to top that. With that said, fans should really enjoy this third installment as once again the director and two stars do a wonderful job in regards to the performances, the dialogue and just the way they let the film and characters roll. I think the strongest aspects of this episode is that it's a lot darker than the previous two. There are certainly a few things that are going to shock people or at least catch them off guard and I personally think these moments contain a lot of raw emotion and heart. It's not easy fulfilling whatever notions people have about these characters going into the movie. I mean, have fans not wondered what was going on in these two people's lives since we last saw them? I'm sure fans have thought up their own things so then getting to see and hear about what's actually happened could always contain a bit of disappointment but for the most part the film delivers. It should go without saying but both Hawke and Delpy are perfect together and you really do feel as if they're a couple who have been in and out of each other's lives for nearly two decades. Linklater does a very good job at keeping the film moving at a longer running time and the cinematography is top-notch as usual. The only real negative moment for me is a rather long sequence where a larger group of people are talking. I know what they were going for here but I just don't think it worked well enough and it took us away from out two characters. Still, BEFORE MIDNIGHT is still a winner in one of the most interesting series in film history.
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8/10
The series keeps being great
SnoopyStyle20 May 2014
It's 9 years after 'Before Sunset' in the 3rd movie of the Before series. Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are unmarried living in Paris with their twin daughters. Jesse has written 2 more books. It's one of the last days of their summer vacation in Greece. Jesse sees his son Hank off after spending the summer with him. Hank's mom is still angry and Jesse wants so much to spend more time with him in Chicago. Celine is thinking about taking a government job with complications.

They are 41. They have kids. It has the naturalistic long takes very much in keeping with the previous movies. I love the sly humor and human scale of their lives. There is also something great about growing old with these characters. This is what comes after happily-ever-after of the second movie. I do like the scenes with Jesse and Celine alone more than the scenes with other people. I don't mind the other characters but I loved the private moments with just those two wandering around bullshitting. Also it's great to have them continue their relationship with their problems.
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7/10
Marriage Crisis or Bipolar Disorder?
claudio_carvalho11 October 2013
The writer Jesse Wallace (Ethan Hawke) is married with Céline (Julie Delpy) and they have twin daughters, Ella and Nina, eighteen years after their first encounter in a train in Vienna. They live in Paris but they are spending summer vacation in Greece in the house of Jesse's friends. In the end of the vacation, Jesse takes his fourteen year-old son Hank to the airport to fly to Chicago, where he lives with his mother. One of his Greek friends offers a hotel room for Jesse and Céline to spend one farewell dream night, but they discuss their relationship instead.

"Before Midnight" is the third chapter of the adorable saga of the French-American couple Céline and Jesse. Now they are mature and married with children, alternating good moments with crisis in their marriage like "in real life and not a fairy tale". The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is very beautiful and intense and makes the movie worthwhile. Unfortunately, the plot is weak and hard to believe that a couple together for so many years has some attitude shown in the movie (for example, in the car returning from the airport). The unstable behavior of Céline, who hates her life and Jess success as a writer, seems to be of a woman with bipolar disorder and not caused by a marriage crisis. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Antes da Meia-Noite" ("Before Midnight")
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8/10
Is this the end?
kosmasp12 August 2013
Though it was never planned as such, we do get another installment on the "Before ..." series. But fans of the original movies are excited and rightfully so. Whether you watched this at a Festival (played in Berlin and other cities) or regularly, the crowd response to it was overwhelmingly good. There are reviewers here who write this might be the best of the series. Whatever the case is, the quality of all three movies is very high, which is very rare.

You don't have to have seen the other movies, but it does make sense to get a feeling of our two lead characters. Of course they are meeting new people here (this time the location is Greece), but Problems and Passion are still there. The situations and the dialog feel more than real and while it might be too "talky" for some, others will rejoice and revel in it. Hopefully you know beforehand to which group you belong
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6/10
"I'm surprised we lasted this long."
classicsoncall5 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
If there were an award category for most annoying film trilogy, my vote would go to the 'Before' series hands down. I thought that by the time Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) hit their Forties they would have matured into some semblance of a meaningful relationship, but their two hour banter between themselves and among friends on a vacation in Greece is downright excruciating. And once again, it's Celine who initiates excessive use of the 'F' word and gets in the gutter on topics ranging from her first boyfriend to Jesse's attempt to reconcile a relationship with a son from a first marriage. Jesse had it right when he squirmed over her 'can't win' question that went 'What about me would you change?'. Guys, if you want to answer correctly, you have to say 'Nothing' and stick with it no matter what. Otherwise you'll have to endure an hour of endless recrimination over everything that's occurred since the beginning of the relationship. Then again, if you answer 'Nothing', you'll be badgered into coming up with something that you'll regret in any case, and if you're not as creative as Jesse with an ability to think on your feet, you're cooked. It was with a great sense of relief when the final credits rolled because most everything I had to sit there and listen to was nailed by the Greek guy Stafanos (Panos Koronis) commenting on Jesse's idea for his next novel, and suitably describing the way I felt about this picture - "Well, I don't know..., sounds pretentious".
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7/10
The Long-Term Romance Part Three
gavin694230 June 2015
We meet Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna.

Although I have to say I like this installment less than the first two, it certainly has its place. I feel like the first two were more philosophical, and there was something about being set in earlier years that offered more appeal. We did not have mentions of using Skype (though, that is reality these days).

But this was necessary, because we needed to know: will they survive, or will the relationship grow cold? We get many answers about the last several years of their lives... and yet, I have to wonder if Linklater is open to a part four (or five or six)?
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7/10
Before Midnight
jboothmillard14 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is third entry by director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly, Boyhood) in the independent movie trilogy, which began with the fantastic Before Sunrise in 1995, followed by the not as good Before Sunset in 2004. Eighteen years since they first met in Vienna, and nine years since their reunion in Paris, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Golden Globe nominated Julie Delpy) are now a couple, unmarried and parents to twin girls, Jesse is a successful novelist, Céline is at a career crossroads, considering working for the French government. Jesse is struggling to maintain a relationship with his teenage son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick), he lives in Chicago with Jesse's ex-wife (he broke with her following his reunion with Céline), Hank spends the summer with his father on the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, before being dropped off at the airport to fly home. Jesse and Céline discuss their concerns about Hank, and then about Céline's choices for her career, over dinner with friends staying with them they talk more about life and love. Their friends pay for them to have a hotel room to spend the night alone, on the way Jesse and Céline reminisce about coming together, they remove clothing and consider sex, but then start a fierce argument, expressing fears about their present and future relationship. Among other issues, Jesse wants to move to Chicago to be closer to Hank, Céline does not like the idea of being far away from her family, in the heat of the moment Céline tells Jesse she no longer loves him and walks out. Céline sits alone in the hotel outdoor restaurant, Jesse soon joins her and uses a joke he used earlier, that he is a time traveller from the future, he says he has a letter from her elderly self, describing this night as one of the best of their lives. Céline is unamused and says their fantasies will never match the imperfect reality, Jesse explains his love for her, saying he does not know what else she could want, after a moment Céline plays along with Jesse's joke, and the two seem to reconcile their differences and reconnect. Also starring Jennifer Prior as Ella, Charlotte Prior as Nina, Xenia Kalogeropoulou as Natalia, Walter Lassally as Patrick, Ariane Labed as Anna, Yannis Papadopoulos as Achilleas and Athina Rachel Tsangari as Ariadni. Hawke and Delpy still have a great chemistry together, differences of opinion create tension, obviously their personal circumstances have changed as well to make things complicated, but they ultimately still love each other, there are a few other characters along the way as well, unlike the previous two films. This film relies entirely on the relationship of the lovers, played out in relaxed long takes with both everyday discussions and bickering, about love, sex, family, pain and politics, with intelligent banter, sharp humour and emotional truths, obviously it also relies on a well crafted script, it is a great end to a indie trilogy, a worthwhile romantic drama. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. Very good!
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10/10
my film of the year - and many others I should hope
Quinoa19848 November 2014
The return to Jesse and Celene (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, top of their respective talents) after another 9-year passage of time (Before Sunrise to Sunset was 9 years, now here's another). The difference this time is that the characters aren't falling in love, or re-discovering what made them initially attracted in the Brief Encounter sense. Now they're married, have two kids, and have the struggles of what married couples deal with (well, some of them anyway) , a kid from Hawke's previous marriage that he has to send off back to his home at the start of the film (they're in vacation in Greece, after all), and the conflict that this will pose, which is both somewhat minor AND great at the same time, if that makes sense.

And just the, you know, what happens to a couple when they've been around each other for a long, LONG period of time. The love is still there, but the fire has to keep burning. At both ends. And is there love, is the question? Can these two stay connected? Who will win in an argument where it's more about being right than full-on logic? (which makes up the third act and boy-o-boy, watch out Ingmar Bergman for your title as King of the Marriage Dramas!) I loved this movie so dearly, for the time it takes giving us these characters anew, and how they speak like real people, like grown-ups! What a concept in modern cinema! The conversations here, including (breaking, in a great way, the tradition in 'Before' movies of it just being Jesse and Celene) new characters in this Greece setting talking about life, the universe and everything that matters – but especially love and relationships – are witty, engaging, not too high-concept but not dumbed down to any extreme.

These three films, but especially this one which, like Woody Allen's 2013 entry Blue Jasmine, shows a maturer sensibility, some learned-ness about the state of being with a person, and being yourself around that person, and that there can be humor in the process. In fact the most pointed and spot-on message in the film I took away with, mostly with Hawke's performance and character, is that the ability to make your significant other laugh and be amused is really the key to it all (in a moment of desperation Jesse even says flat out, "I'm trying to make you laugh!") And that, too, is an asset as this is the funniest of the 'Before' series, particularly in that last bitter act where they hash it out in a hotel room. If you can't laugh, what's the point of it all?
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Not charming anymore
Gordon-1113 September 2020
This time, I find the film boring and just not charming. Instead of relating to each other, they are just bickering all the time. You can say it is raw and real, but that is not what I want to see.
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10/10
Beyond Great
writers_reign21 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Possibly like most people who both saw and loved the two previous films from the same writers-actors-director trio, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, I was partially resigned to the fact that three out of three is asking a lot. I was, I am delighted to say, hopelessly wrong. This is simply filmmaking at its best and totally against the run of cgi, s&v, gross-out comedy etc. Simply an adult film made by and for adults about that most hackneyed plot the Human Condition. It has to be one of the most economical films ever made as there can't be more than 20 shots throughout. So accomplished are the trio that they are able to shoot up to thirty minutes in one take witness the drive from the airport, the walk through the town, the hotel room, three marathon scenes kept afloat simply by conversation - if you wanted to be superficial you could say it was My Dinner With Andre with a mixed couple as opposed to two males. Delpy is still gorgeous despite making absolutely no effort; she wears two dresses throughout, neither a designer outfit, lets her hair fall where it may and generally looks like any typical forty-something mother of two except, of course that most forty-something mothers of two are not dropdead gorgeous. As most of the comments I've read here have noted if there is any justice (alas, no) this movie should walk away with Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Film. Oh, yes, I almost forgot; I liked it.
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6/10
Mixed feelings
grantss11 November 2014
Mixed feelings about this movie, the third of Richard Linklater's trilogy.

The trilogy started in 1995 with Before Sunrise, continued in 2004 with Before Sunset and now, another nine years later, we have Before Midnight. The movies follow the lives and love of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), with the span in years between movies reflecting the spans in their lives. We are getting snapshots of their lives, at nine-year intervals.

Before Sunrise was OK, but not great. Really a dressed-up romantic drama, just with a more realistic and original plot and more subtle direction than your average romance movie.

Before Sunset was the pick of the bunch. Rather than just a snapshot, it relates, through their dialogue, all the happenings in the last nine years of their lives, and demonstrates how much each of them were key in the other's life. It had more of a complete story and more character development.

Before Midnight now picks up with them together, with their two kids, holidaying in Greece. Like the first two, it is very dialogue-intensive. Like the first two (especially Before Sunrise) the dialogue can be a big negative at times: pretentious, navel- gazing stuff.

However, on the plus side, we get to see how relationships end up. Romantic dramas tend to end with the couple walking off into the sunset, very much in love, blissfully happy and without a care in the world. They never cover all the unromantic, even irritating, stuff that comes after it: kids, domestic life, mundanity. This does.

On the downside, there is a reason this is never covered: it's boring, even annoying. Who wants to see a bitter, very protracted argument between husband and wife? Or people discussing domestic stuff?

Thus, a two-edged sword.

So, kudos to Richard Linklater for the concept of these movies and for not shying away from the less glamorous domestic years in a relationship. However, the domestic years aren't very entertaining to watch...
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9/10
Third time is the charm in this ongoing romantic dramedy
george.schmidt25 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013) ***1/2 Third time is the charm in this ongoing romantic dramedy with American writer Ethan Hawke and Parisian lover Julie Delpy reexamining their relationship after reuniting nearly a decade ago focusing on their family, dreams and fears all at the same time while on a vacation in Greece (wonderfully lensed by Christos Voudouris). The logorrhea cum travelogue formula remains tried and true as filmmaker Richard Linklater and his stars (again the trio collaborating on the seemingly-on-the-fly-improvised screenplay) continue to navel-gaze, gripe, and ultimately rekindle a flickering flame of eternal love. A valentine for everyone who's ever fallen in love with questions, doubts and the usual baggage it retains.
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10/10
So Far the Best of the "Before..." Series
evanston_dad27 June 2013
If there's a flaw in this simply beautiful film, I sure couldn't find it.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy return to play the characters they created in "Before Sunrise" and further explored in "Before Sunset." "Before Midnight" may just be the best of the three. Hawke and Delpy are now together, and struggling with the mundanity of raising children and actually living a life together, something that sounded much more romantic when fate and circumstances were keeping them apart. The acting is flawless, and so is the writing. The movie could so easily have become nothing more than two privileged white people moaning about their white person problems, but it instead gets right at the heart of what makes simple day-to-day living, even when nothing major is wrong with your life and even when you can admit that to yourself, so difficult.

It doesn't hurt any that the film takes place amidst the gorgeous scenery of Greece.

Oscar-winning cinematographer Walter Lasally ("Zorba the Greek") makes a brief cameo as a wise old author and an actress named Xenia Kalogeropoulou stops the show with a soliloquy about the melancholy an old woman feels over the memories of her dead husband.

Grade: A+
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7/10
Before Midnight Linklater Will Make a Cut.
anaconda-4065829 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Before Midnight (2013): Dir: Richard Linklater / Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Walter Lassally, Ariane Labed, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick: Title is a reminder of the Biblical reference of not allowing the day to end with anger still brewing. This is the third in a trilogy that includes Before Sunrise and Before Sunset with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy still growing apart and together and back again. Set in a stunning Greek atmosphere and opens with Hawke's son boarding a plane back to Chicago where his mother lives. From there it could strike some viewers as unsettling when Richard Linklater shoots extremely long sequences consisting of conversation. There is a long driving sequences, another long dinner sequence, then a long walking sequence. Finally this all comes together at a hotel room where these two bicker. Some viewers will grow weary of Linklater's choice of shooting. Others will appreciate the skill of the two leads who hold it together within an extremely long one take. Structure is stagy but its message ring true for any couples who have been together for years. Hawke and Delpy hold it together with strong performances as a couple discussing their issues. He desires a closer relationship with his son and she resents the idea of moving to Chicago. She is also contemplating a Government job. Seamus Davey-Patrick plays Hawke's son who is seen in the film's opening scene at the airport. While Linklater has been more creative with other films this one sustains a theme many viewers will relate to when it comes to putting issues to rest before midnight. Score: 7 / 10
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10/10
Masterpiece
zetes30 June 2013
The original film in this series, Before Sunrise, was such a special, wonderful little film. When they made the unexpected sequel, Before Sunset, in 2004, there was such a depth to it - and an added depth to the original film - it was pretty much unprecedented. This third installment isn't as unexpected, I don't think, but it certainly doesn't disappoint. These films have become, as a whole, one of the greatest of all cinematic statements, one that truly understands how people work and the way history effects the future. This film finds Jesse and Celine, now together for the past decade, in Greece at the end of a summer vacation. Jesse is saying goodbye to the son he had with his ex-wife, and on the way back from the airport he thinks aloud that he could probably be a bigger part of his son's life if he lived back in the United States (the couple and their twin daughters reside in Paris usually). This begins an argument between the couple that eventually turns quite bitter. Through the course of the film, we learn everything that has happened in the intervening ten years. There's also a great scene, unlike the other two movies, where the couple converses with other people, all of whom have their own theories on love and life. As with the previous two installments, this is incredibly lovely. Both Hawke and Delpy are brilliant. As with Sunset, they co-wrote the screenplay with Richard Linklater. Linklater has made plenty of good films in his life, but this series will be his legacy. It will also be Hawke's and Delpy's. And it is to be included amongst the best things the cinema has ever produced.
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9/10
Nice ending (?) for one of the best romantic sagas in cinema
siderite7 October 2013
I am not a romantic guy and most of the movies about love and relationships either bore me or insult me. The Before * series consists of three movies that are in the so small category of romantic movies that are worth seeing. In all of them we watch a slice of the life of two people, interpreted by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy, from the moment they meet till the one they are married with children. Their problems are real, not dramatic, and their reactions are as far from normal Hollywood romcoms as you can imagine. That is what makes them great.

Before Midnight sees the two protagonists on vacation in Greece, two twin girls in tow, apparently in the most perfect of relationships. That view suddenly changes when resentment and low confidence from both parts explodes, threatening to screw everything up. It is a movie in which very few characters are just talking, not unlike Woody Allen movies, but played in a completely different key note.

To sum it up, all of the three movies feel like you are reading a book. That is so rare these days and I have enjoyed every moment of watching.
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Oxygen for the serious film-goer
jdesando12 June 2013
"You are the mayor of Crazytown, do you know that? You are!" Jesse (Ethan Hawke) to Celine (Julie Delpy)

Nine years after they met in Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celine have moved into the relative craziness of early middle age, with two children and careers making demands that threaten their love.

Unlike most Hollywood romances but like My Dinner with Andre, the plot is all talk, an American take on the maturity of European cinema. The chatter, at times homage to early screwball comedies, never grates and gives an authentic feel, as if we were overhearing conversation at the next table.

As the committed couple ramps up the intensity of the disagreement, which starts with his veiled attempt to have her leave her career in Paris to move with him to Chicago to be near his son, the language takes on universal meaning to the extent that most 40 something's in the audience can appreciate the challenges children inevitably bring to romance.

Director Richard Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke collaborated on the script, and it shows. The acting superbly achieves a verisimilitude, an organic quality that makes it all believable, and the direction keeps the camera simple in order to focus on the powerful words. Linklater et al. have taken us over the years from the heady days of romance to the sobering moments of reality.

Yet, I have a feeling this couple can survive even much worse than this film's skirmishes into the blinding light of experience. One friend describes Jesse's recent book as "a better book—it's so much more ambitious." "Ambitious" is the name of this film's game and one for which I can't wait for the next inning.

Celine: I feel close to you. Jesse: Yeah? Celine: But sometimes, I don't know? I feel like you're breathing helium and I'm breathing oxygen.
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10/10
Don't think, just watch
StevePulaski23 March 2015
The nearly-month long period of time I have been indulging in Richard Linklater's utterly remarkable Before trilogy has not only made me more observant on fabled ideas such as life, love, and romance, but it has made me appreciate human connection and relationships more than I have in the past. I've always looked to connect and strike up real, meaningful relationships with those that I've met, but Linklater's Before trilogy has really made me analyze the beauty of the progression of relationships and, often, how feelings for someone can change for both the positive and the negative. It's the kind of film that puts a grandiose idea into perspective by showing you an application, giving you a representation of ideas that only existed as passing thoughts in your head.

The original Before Sunrise was a terrific film, cutesy in the best possible way, showing a meet-cute between two young, idealistic souls who feel as if the possibilities of the world are at their fingertips and their connection is one of the many wonderful things in store for them during their lives. Before Sunset caught not only the two performers in a more confident, assured state of mind, but their characters in a place of humble disillusionment. Both quietly feared that their idealism was slipping through their fingertips, which were once seemingly instant sensors to the motor of the world, but they still remained generally optimistic in tone and were pleasantly introspective about themselves. Only one scene saw Delpy's Céline lash out at Hawke's Jesse and that momentarily made the audience uncomfortable.

Before Midnight shows Jesse and Céline exhausted from the first frame. We see Jesse walking with his son Henry (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) to his flight, as he is about to fly from Greece, who is now living in Paris, back home to his mother, Jesse's now ex-wife, in Chicago. We see Jesse has published two books, is tossing around an elaborate, transient idea for the third one, and maintaining a relationship with his love Céline and their two twin daughters. A dinner with friends turns into an outing where low-key but evident animosity is bread between the value of what Jesse does as a man versus what Céline does as a women. He comments about her need to shortchange their relationship together, and she remarks how his writer complex makes him more attracted to bimbos than women he can hold a conversation with.

The two roam the streets of Greece in a manner that echoes how they used to roam around large, spacious cities with no care in the world and nothing immediate on their mind. They reminisce and fondly recall of old circumstances together and the elephant issue at hand; Jesse wants to be with Henry during the crucial years of high school, which would involve him and Céline moving to Chicago because Henry moving to Paris is not an option. Céline doesn't want to do this because her environmental action has just landed her a dream job that requires work in Paris, and the two have clearly been bickering about this plan for quite some time, specifically, the few days after Henry leaves Jesse to return home to his mother.

Most of the third act (about a good thirty-five minutes) takes place in a Greek hotel room, with Jesse and Céline arguing with one another about their plans for Henry, the expected gender roles of both of them, the fact that one shortchanges the other, and just life situations in general. Linklater perfectly executes these scenes so they're not overblown theatrics fogging up human behavior (he exercised such great restraint when profiling Mason's alcoholic stepfather in Boyhood). Yet after spending three films with these characters, watching them fall madly in love with one another and engage in so many romantic, thoughtful encounters, watching them argue is the equivalent of seeing your parents argue when you're a kid.

Make no mistake, however; this long, slowburn scene is the epitome of the Before trilogy, alongside Jesse and Céline's first encounter on a train to Vienna. It indicates that this was a love that was best attended to in small increments rather than long term commitment (or is all love essentially like that?). Jesse and Céline have spent a great deal of time together, know each other by heart, and are growing restless of the weaker features of one another. Perhaps if they kept their "nine year" commitment in tact from their first meeting, maybe they would've gone on to have a stronger love for one another? But wouldn't they still feel like they're missing something or someone in their lives?

Before Midnight is as rich of a testament to the human spirit as its predecessors, closing one of the most beautiful trilogies I've ever seen committed to film. Watching these three films has been my emotional movie event of the season, and which each passing installment I'm reminded more and more of why I not only praise Linklater for his ability to commit abstract concepts and relatable characters to film, but film's ability to connect, resonate, and deeply attend to the aforementioned human spirit. The entire Before trilogy is such a tender, affectionate handling of the concept through simplicity itself, so much so that if I encounter someone who doesn't understand the films, or find the beauty in them, all that can simply be said is "don't think, just watch."

Read the more complete review on my personal website, http://stevethemovieman.proboards.com
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9/10
a third time is still a charm!
lasttimeisaw20 November 2013
We only know Jesse and Céline for two days in their lives (BEFORE SUNRISE 1995, 8/10; BEFORE SUNSET 2004, 9/10), but as if we have invested too much already, so at the beginning of this third chapter, when we realize that they have been living together for all these 9 years by now and even had two twin girls, is it a truly romantic fairytale comes true or the day-to-day reality has eroded the edges and corners and exhausted their acuity in dissecting what they are really thinking? The triad of Linklater, Delpy and Hawke will present us a most satisfactory delight delving into these two soul mates' current states of mind.

Again tracing a one-day journey of the couple in their last day of their summer getaway in Southern Greece, in the morning, they see off Jesse's son Hank in the airport, who has to return to his mother, Jesse's ex-wife, which aggravates Jesse's paternity guilt for being absent in most of Hank's life, elicits an idea to move back to USA with the entire family, while they're driving back from the airport, the discord occurs when Céline rebuffs the connotation of the unscheduled idea, and a time-bomb is ticking, the first long take in the car signals as a gambit to re-ignite the audience members' coveted interest in their love story.

Under the magnificent scenery of this ancient land, their farewell lunch with friends carries a casual spirit but the small talk is overflowing with engaging and emotively touching insights about love from different ages and experiences, Jesse and Céline are mainly listeners, but Delpy manage to pull off a splendid ad lib mimics a brainless bimbo flirting with Jesse the writer and talking about Romeo and Juliet, so hilarious and this is a patina when they are surrounded with other people.

Later, they leave their daughters to friends and head to a hotel since they are treated to have a private evening in a hotel to culminate their last night there (with a couple massage coupon), clearly it is a god-given opportunity for them to express real thoughts without the interference of their children. Meandering in the town, everything is like deja vu, they are like two people deeply in love with each other and the sexual attraction is simmering when they reach the room, but their carnal engagement is interrupted by a pivotal call from Hank, their following tête-à- tête turns sours when Céline bickers about her sacrifice in the relationship and the frustration of parenting, utters discontent and spurns the prospect of moving to USA, meanwhile Jesse appears to be the calm one, but his passive-aggressive strategy fails to appease her and they begin to blame faults to each other, until Céline storms out and leaves the deal-breaker " I don't love you anymore". From convivial to acrid, it is so spot-on in everyman's world, then the ending plays a nice trick on the ambivalent possibilities of their future, fingers-crossed a fourth one will come another 9 years later and it will be worth the wait.

Thumbs up to both Hawke and Delpy's scintillating acting, their resounding rapport and flawless two-hander should have earned some serious awards recognition apart from their effervescent script, good luck for a third time, Delpy could be a dark horse to bag a BEST LEADING ACTRESS nomination, and she is also French, Oscar voters, remember?
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The thing with feathers
tieman6425 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is a review of "Before Sunrise", "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight", three films by Richard Linklater.

Released in 1995, "Before Sunrise" finds Ethan Hawke playing Jesse, a young American who's travelling across Europe. On his way to Vienna he meets Celine (Julie Delpy), a young woman on her way to Paris. From the moment out duo lock eyes, they're drawn to each other. They share a meal, savouring the conversation more than the food, and when they arrive in Vienna, Jesse persuades Celine to keep him company wandering the streets. Thus begins an unforgettable screen romance.

Like most of Linklater's films, "Sunrise" is both dialogue heavy and boils down to a series of discussions or ruminations on life. Our duo talk incessantly, touching upon subjects which range from language and reincarnation to sexuality and religion. Some of it is cringe-worthy, but for the most part Linklater's dialogue rings true. His banter is casual, natural, lacking in artifice, and we at times feel like voyeurs, eavesdropping on the sort of "unimportant" dialogue that most films shy away from.

But the film is sexy as well. Celine and Jesse crackle with electricity, and Linklater pays great attention to subtle shifts in body language. There's one scene where Jesse restrains himself from brushing away a stray lock of Celine's hair, and another wonderful moment in a music listening booth where our duo nervously avoid eye contact. Elsewhere the film indulges in numerous long takes, Linklater's gliding camera making the most of some gorgeous European locales, as he dips in and out of romantic alcoves and cosy spaces. Linklater's long steadicam takes lend "Sunrise" an "energy" and intimacy that many of his other films lack.

Released in 2004, Linklater's "Before Sunset" is a sequel to 1995's "Sunrise". Equally good, the film joins Celine and Jesse almost a decade later. Speaking to both the mind and the heart, it finds our duo still obsessed with the night they first met, fell in love, and then somehow forgot to exchange contact details. This time around Jesse is in Paris to promote his new novel (he's now a writer), and it is Celine who tracks him down. Our couple then embark on an 80 minute chat, the fact that Jesse must leave on an afternoon flight tightening like a hang-man's noose around their conversations. The film then ends with a sequence which packs an emotional wallop.

Hawke and Delpy so easily re-inhabit these characters, you have to wonder how much they're based on themselves. Simultaneously dopey and intelligent, their conversations cycle through hilarity, pain and misery. On the downside, both characters are obviously the product of an artist; Celine and Jesse are a couple of unashamed hipsters.

Once again Linklater utilises long, uninterrupted takes, his gliding camera capturing vast chunks of banter and beautiful Parisian architecture. A few gentle flashbacks give glimpses of the original film, but we don't really need them. This story stands on its own as a second chance to change fate. And as is typical of Linklater, cinema's chief slacker-philosopher (at least since the death of Hal Ashby), Linklater has his film abstract several profound human truths, placing them all in a series of dialogue driven vignettes. In a way, Jesse and Celine become everyone and everything, and at times represent more than themselves.

Released in 2013, "Before Mightnight" finds Jesse and Celine as a committed couple. It's been eight years since we last saw them, and they now live in Europe with twin girls of their own. Unsurprisingly, the puppy-love of the first two films has given way to middle-aged weariness, parental responsibility, regret and pragmatism. The film is somber, even pessimistic, and Linklater cleverly introduces several other characters who represent life and love at different stages, most notably an elderly writer and a young couple who conjure up images of Jesse and Celine's own romance almost two decades ago.

If "Sunset" and "Sunrise" evoked Eric Rohmer, or Bresson's "Four Nights of a Dreamer", "Midnight" recalls Abbas Kiarostami and Rossellini's "Journey to Italy". Again dialogue heavy, and again reliant on long takes, the film is colder, harder and more caustic than its predecessors. Our couple now view everything with scepticism, and seem to exude a mood of grim acceptance and resignation. Most of the film's conversation revolve around death, career disappointment, transience, the world ending or technology's negative influences; the rants of a dying generation. At one point Celine even paints a dour image of the future, in which society devolves into "masturbation and death". In another, Jesse insists that man is "99 percent automated" and even goes so far as to denounce the concept of self-hood. Other conversations mock the way men measure accomplishments, and of course male obsessions with the phallus. Elsewhere an elderly man explains that couples are "never one person, always two".

Unlike its predecessors, "Midnight's" sceptical of romance and even soul-mates. After a wholly contrived argument in a hotel room, a forced segment designed to set up another sequel, our duo then seem to patch up their problems, though you nevertheless suspect that this relationship has reached its end. Expect a possible fourth film to be about loneliness or separation.

Early in "Midnight", Jesse reveals to us characters in his new book. One character lives in an unending, wondrous present (the very behaviour that brought Jesse and Celine together so many years ago), whilst another views all experiences as being "second hand". Jesse later talks about being "lost in perception" and introduces us to the "patron saint of eyesight", moments which exemplify Celie and Jesse's own anxieties. Both fantasise about different, better futures, and both are unsure of their partner's role in this desired world.

8.5/10 – As strong as its predecessors, though the idea of middle class hipsters incessantly yapping will prove irksome to many.
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5/10
Least favorite from the three
KineticSeoul16 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the positive ratings this one has been getting. It's still my least favorite out of the three films. This time it leads more towards the changing of times, life after marriage, and rationality vs. emotions. When it comes to the past films in this franchise, both Jesse and Celine brought out some interesting points. But this time Celine is the dis-likable character. Maybe because I am a guy, but she just comes off as a bully that is super into the the feminist movement. She basically wants Jesse to bend over backwards in order for her to be satisfied. I don't know, this time around the back and forth conversation just seems more depressing and uncomfortable. Than amusing and intriguing, thus it feels drawn out. I won't be watching this one again, plus it lacks substance compared to the previous two installments. And seeing how it ends, there will probably be another installment. If not, this is just plain out depressing even if it relates to real life to a degree.

5.5/10
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3/10
I'm Cutting This A Bit Of Slack
sddavis6312 January 2014
I have decided that I have to cut this movie at least a little bit of slack. Although I sometimes think that the rating on here are ridiculous, when over 41,000 people have given this a ranking of over 8, I'll admit the possibility that it must have something going for it. Mainly, I'm going to admit that because I realize that this is the third of a trilogy - a trilogy of which I was completely unaware. My wife rented this without knowing that actually. Had I known of the trilogy I would probably have suggested watching the first two before getting into this. But I didn't, she didn't, and so we rented this. And I still have to give my honest thoughts, noting that I haven't seen the first two instalments.

I watched it two days ago and have been trying to let it percolate in my mind. Unfortunately my basic thought about it hasn't changed. After watching it and spending two days reflecting on it, I still really don't have much of a clue what it was about. Yeah. I get it that it's about the relationship between Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) - married with children but with a relationship that has more than a few issues, although at first at least it seems happy enough. So it's about them. OK.

First of all, though, I thought there were far too many conversations going on - sometimes between them, sometimes between groups. Sometimes they just went on and on and on. The opening car ride with the two of them and their children sleeping in the back of the car was excruciating. I almost joined the children in blissful sleep. The scene around the table with the group who were invited there to spend the summer with the famous writer (why?) was heavy on philosophical meanderings but really not interesting. I wondered how the actors could get through the script awake. And the hotel room scene between the two of them where everything finally fell apart? Some think that was a magnificent portrayal. Me? I thought she was coming across as a - well - I won't use the word. I suppose the redeeming quality of that was that to me at least it finally portrayed the man of the relationship in a positive light, expressing love, while she seemed to be twisting his every word into some sort of attack on her, on her life, on her identity. Whatever. Yeah. It came across as a totally unnecessary feminist diatribe. Ultimately, it ended on a somewhat hopeful note. But I can't say I got too much out of it.

But I'll cut it a bit of slack. I don't have the background of the first two instalments. Maybe that would put all this in context. Maybe. So - 3/10.
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8/10
Hard to sit through at times but it's still very well done and believable.
Hellmant20 June 2013
'BEFORE MIDNIGHT': Four Stars (Out of Five)

Director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reteam to tell the continuing story of Jesse and Celine for the third time (following 1995's 'BEFORE SUNRISE' and 2004's 'BEFORE SUNSET'). Linklater wrote the script with Hawke and Delpy (the three also co-wrote the last film) and it once again picks up nine years after the previous film (just as the second film did) and focuses on Jesse and Celine's troubled relationship as they live with their twin daughters in Greece. As with the previous two films the movie is full of long dialogue scenes that seem like you're actually watching two real people talk about life. If that's something you enjoy in a film you'll probably like this movie.

The film begins with Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) now nine years into their relationship as a couple, living with their twin daughters (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior) in Greece. It's now nine years since they hooked up and conceived their children in the last film and eighteen years after they met on a train for Venice in the original film. Jesse is still a successful writer and Celine is wanting to start a new career in government. Jesse wants to move to Chicago to be with his son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) though, who lives with his mother there (Jesse's ex-wife now). This causes troubles in Jesse and Celine's relationship as she feels like she's being asked to sacrifice her career aspirations so Jesse can be with his son. Many arguments result and follow.

The movie is quite painful to watch as the third act contains probably about thirty minutes of non-stop viscous bickering. It's hard to sit through at times but it's still very well done and believable; like a real slice of life. The first two acts have a lot of long and drawn-out dialogue scenes that are much less engaging but just as realistic. I know a lot of people that would be bored to death by this film but I'm sure they would be by the first two as well. This relationship trilogy has a very select group of fans but those fans do love these films. This installment is a lot like the other two in structure but takes place at a very different stage in the two main characters' relationship. It's a lot less magical and touching and more about life's ugliness but it does build to a good conclusion and has a positive message. Fans of the first two films should love it and fans of the genre should like it as well. It's one of those movies that's all about life and moves at a snail's pace but these films are just as important as the more entertaining and faster paced ones in my opinion.

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9/10
One-third of a romantic magnum opus
Buddy-5114 January 2014
Watching "Before Midnight," one is struck by how shallow and superficial most movies dealing with love and romance truly are.

Principal credit goes to writer/director Richard Linklater, who has the uncanny gift for making all the dialogue he writes sound 100% real - given an invaluable assist from a cast of brilliant ad-libbing actors, that is. This talent is something he's demonstrated over and over again in his unique and utterly indispensable longitudinal study in romance: "Before Sunrise" (1995), "Before Sunset" (2004) and now his piece de resistance, "Before Midnight."

The "Before" trilogy is similar to the "Up" documentary series, only instead of checking into the lives of some actual people every seven years as Michael Apted does, Linklater goes back to the same fictional couple every decade or so to see how it is they're faring. When we first met Celine and Jesse in "Before Sunrise," they were two strangers in their twenties who, after a chance meeting aboard a train, proceeded to spend a romantic, albeit platonic, evening together in Vienna before he headed back to his home in the States and she to her life as a student in Paris. Though they vowed to reunite in six months time, they never actually did so.

When, nine years later, they encountered each other again, at a book-signing in Paris, Jesse had become a successful writer, having used his encounter with Celine as fodder for a worldwide best seller, thereby capturing both her and the moment they shared in print forever. In his thirties at this point, Jesse revealed that he was married with a son, but that the marriage was an unhappy one. Celine, an environmental activist, had a boyfriend she rarely saw due to his job as a photojournalist. "Before Sunset" faded out on them finally consummating their relationship.

As "Before Midnight" opens, we learn that Celine and Jesse have indeed become a couple and have twin daughters conceived in their night of passion. Jesse broods over the fact that he is living a continent away from his now-teenaged son , whom he gets to see only during the summer. Meanwhile, Celine, Jesse and the girls are spending their vacation traveling around Greece, staying with friends at a beautiful villa and taking in the sights.

If "Before Midnight" reminds us of any film, it is Stanley Donen's great 1967 romance "Two For the Road," with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney as the long-married couple - also traveling through Europe - who have begun to take the long view of their relationship, examining how love and individuals change, sometimes for the better but often for the worse, over time (with its time-shifting narrative, Donen was able to accomplish in one movie what Linklater takes three to do - not that that in any way diminishes the achievement). Unlike most romantic dramas, which end just as the relationships are starting to become interesting, "Two for the Road" and "Before Midnight" hurtle bravely on into the future, to a point long after the initial concerns and rituals of courtship and giddy romance have faded and the realities and concerns of a far more prosaic everyday life have come to take their place.

Infidelity, the demands of parenthood, the pressures of work and career, the idealism of youth fading into the cynicism and compromises of middle age - all these issues are put under the microscope and brought into sharp focus in "Before Midnight," which clearly shows that Celine and Jesse are not the same people they were when we first met them - nor should we expect them to be. For life is not static, and neither are the people who are constantly being molded and shaped by the experiences it throws at them. The characters here talk about love and relationships with a depth and insight rarely found in even the most profound of personal dramas.

Eschewing the plot mechanics and melodramatic contrivance that gum up so many movie romances, "Before Midnight" consists mainly of long, often single-take scenes that capture with uncanny accuracy the rhythm and flow of natural conversation. Jesse and Celine know each other so well - have become so comfortably intimate with one another as a couple - that they can talk about a wide range of topics, from the most trivial to the most profound, and not miss a beat, secure in the knowledge that the bond between them is stronger than anything they might express in words. That's how come they are able to emerge intact from a particularly withering half-hour-long argument in a hotel room in which souls are bared and long-simmering grievances are finally brought out into the open.

Of course, the series could never be what it has become without the stellar work of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, two outstanding actors who have literally come to inhabit these characters over the course of three decades. Together they perfectly embody Linklater's vision of what a real romantic couple looks and sounds like at various stages in their relationship. And it's all enhanced by a lovely musical score by Graham Reynolds that nicely brings out the romantic flavor of the piece.

The idea that two distinct and strong-willed individuals can exist both as separate entities and as a couple - and make it work - is the thesis that informs every moment of "Before Midnight." In his series, Linklater has wiped away the gauze that enwraps most movie romances to show us the real and vital thing that beats underneath. And, in so doing, he raises the bar that all future filmmakers, working in the genre from hereon out, will need to try to reach.
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6/10
Midnight Madness
thesar-22 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
For most folks, it's been an 18-year journey. For me, it was a Sunday.

I recently sat down, and travelled, to see all three BEFORE movies, which ended with Before Midnight in theatres. It was extremely nice to be able to see Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight all consecutively verses over almost two-decades of filmmaking.

Maybe this gave me a different perspective. I loved the first movie, admired the follow-up and felt Before Midnight, while a nice send up to the two decade journey of two characters, kind of, hard to watch.

That's not to say it wasn't good and nice to see these two lovebird's conclusions. And it ended (spoiler, sorry) just as they predicted throughout the franchise. I, too, saw the signs and learned a lot about how these two soul mates would view life in the future. But, the fantasy was gone. The reality really hit hard.

Following the wonderfully ambiguous finale of the second chapter, Before Sunset, you learn that these two humans have, in fact, finally got together and stayed that way. In fact, they now have children of their own. The movie follows the same staple pattern of the first two, whereas the camera follows the couple, Jesse and Celine, around as they converse in under 24-hours. Only, now they're dealing with the consequences of making sure they are together.

This movie relies less on romantic love and more on realistic situations for couples. It's a reality check for those who fantasize about romantic encounters. While it's still rich in great dialogue, it's such a culture shock for the hope of the first two movies.

Yeah, I guess, at times, the sh|t's gotta get real, but maybe I loved the love story of the first two more and found myself engulfed in the fantasy of true love. Still, it's worth a watch, if you want to see how these two turn out…

…after 18-real-years of both Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's lives.
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