Before Midnight (2013)
Running Time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
It has been nine years since the second installment, Before Sunset, and in this film, the couple, Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) is spending the summer in Greece on an invitation of Jesse’s colleague. When Jesse sends his teenage son off to the States back to his mum, he begins to question his life decisions, his son’s life, and this causes friction between Celine and Jesse.
Linklater, Hawke and Delpy are at it again, they brought back the two beloved characters, Jesse and Celine. The formula is the same as before whereby everything took place within a day of the characters’ lives, and we learn about what they are up to currently, their thoughts about life, love, and the world, and all this took place in Europe, this time the destination is… Greece.
I think the biggest difference between this film and the previous two is the additional supporting characters that we are introduced to – Jesse’s children, his colleagues, and Jesse and Celine’s new friends – and because of this, there are a lot more going in the scenes, at least for the first quarter of the film. It did take me a while to adjust to this new element that is not really used in the previous two films. The difference is the dialogue, the conversation between Jesse and Celine, it took a more serious, cynical and negative undertone as compared to the previous two. But this is understandable, seeing that the two are in a completely different situation and the dynamics have changed. Even though with all these changes, the writers have managed to maintain that philosophical tone in the conversations, just that this time there’s more reality in it. They’ve also managed to maintain the flow of conversation between the characters fairly well, the chemistry between Hawke and Delpy is still as strong as before, and you can definitely tell the trust these actors have with the director and each other as the movie proceeded.
One of the only things I’m a bit bummed out about this one is the scenery, the beautiful backdrops that Linklater have incorporated with the previous two films; there was less of it in this one since most of the storyline takes place within a house or room. But all in all, the magic of the previous two films is still there, and the writers and director have managed to capture over the last almost 20 years, the journey of how two people meet, how they fall in love, and the bittersweet life of a couple who knew and have been with each other for quite some time. They’ve definitely captured the essence of a couple with children perfectly, and it’s simply wonderful to watch, and quite an eye-opener too for those who have yet to go through it.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10