Before Midnight Review: Saving the Best for Last

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Before Midnight continues the romantic linguistic adventures started in 1995 with Before Sunrise. Audiences fell in love with Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine as they met on an European train. Few movies spouted dialogue as intricate, fast paced and deeply meaningful as that film. But, who knew that it would serve as the first in what is now a romantic trilogy?

Julie Delpy Ethan Hawke Before Midnight

Before Sunset landed in 2004 and now a full 19 years later after the series started, we have the latest chapter in the Celine and Jesse love affair.

As shown in the Before Midnight trailer, the couple has been together for years now and have two young daughters. They are spending the summer in Greece and as the film commences, Jesse is saying goodbye to his son from a previous marriage at the airport. It’s a touching scene, and painfully accurate for those who know the pain of living apart from one’s kin.

After the graceful, albeit awkward goodbyes, Jesse hops in the car with Celine and their kids and they hit the road. The film starts with a dialogue-only 20 minute scene of the pair riding through the Greek countryside on the way to the villa where they are staying. Immediately it is clear why audiences have flocked to this series. Delpy and Hawke are pure magic together and their sparks fly, even when talking about the mundane while driving down a road.

But, that’s just it. Their conversation is rarely of the ordinary, in fact, it is 100-percent extraordinary. And by this point, the two actors fit these roles like a glove. We met the pair for an exclusive video interview (coming soon!) and it’s hard to see where art ends and life begins with these two. Who else could an audience spend 20 minutes in a car with and have each moment surpass the previous in terms of it being so compelling?

We learn that Jesse is a highly successful author whose three books have enthralled the world in a “is it based on his real life love affair?” storyline. He and his family are staying at a legendary author’s estate for six weeks after Jesse earned a sabbatical-type prize to enhance his professional endeavors.

Before Midnight Ethan Hawke Julie Delpy

Movie Fanatic does not want to divulge any more of the plot. It’s not necessarily a spoiler would ruin it type of movie. It’s just we feel that the story requires a less you know about it the better mentality. And Before Midnight is such a joy, we do not want to color your experience in any way other than to extol the virtues of this great film. It has immediately shot to our list of top films of 2013.

Delpy, Hawke and the director of all three of the films, Richard Linklater, holed up in a hotel for six weeks and penned the script. The trio at the heart of the “Before” trilogy has always had an uncanny knack for creating conversation-driven drama that pops with a fierce intensity. And with Before Midnight, they may have even topped themselves.

They explore the realities of not only the complexities of a long-term relationship and the challenges that confront couples, but also the obstacle course that is life itself. In short, our Before Midnight review found the film as gloriously beautiful as the Greek sea found behind the couple on the Before Midngiht poster with our leads’ riveting and wickedly intelligent conversation providing all the soundtrack we need.

Before Midnight Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Before Midnight Review

Before Midnight reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy two decades after they first met on that fateful train in Before Sunrise. It also...

Read Review Editor Rating
  • 5.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating

Unrated