Before Midnight movie poster
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Before Midnight
Before Midnight movie poster

Before Midnight Movie Review

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Nine years after Before Sunset and eighteen years after Before Sunrise, Jesse and Celine are back in Before Midnight, which further examines the relationship between the two lovebirds. As expected, Before Midnight will undoubtedly end up as one of the year's best movies.

I watched both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset for the first time just a few weeks ago (shame on me!). They were, as the minority of people who have actually seen or heard of these movies can attest, some of the most heartwarming, romantic and believable films of all time. Before Midnight carries on in this same tradition, though "heartwarming" has been replaced with "sobering."

In Before Midnight, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are finally together for good. With two young daughters, the couple seems as happy as ever, but as with many married couples, trouble lurks just below the surface. After Jesse sends his son from his first marriage back to the United States, a brief discussion about the possibility of moving to America unravels into something much more complicated.

The story set forth by writer/director Richard Linklater serves as the natural sequel to his previous two movies; if the first is about budding love and the second about acknowledging that love, the third is about the maturity of relationships. Jesse and Celine love each other, but love isn't everything; relationships have their ups and downs.

Before Midnight is a beautifully written and wonderfully acted film that once again catches the mesmerizing chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

And yet as good as it is, Before Midnight is harder to watch than the previous two installments. The movie is at its best when Jesse and Celeste are alone - but there is less of that this time around. There is a long scene involving several other cast members that, while good, drags on after a while. The final act of the movie is also almost entirely devoted to a very tough argument between the two leads; it stands in stark contrast to what has occurred in the previous two installments. The scene is powerful and gripping, and necessary in the evolution of Jesse and Celine's relationship, but it's also painful and sort of depressing.

Before Midnight is an amazingly well done movie, but I miss the simple, sexy, romantic and heartwarming vibe of the earlier movies.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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