Before Midnight

The third and latest in the series, ‘Before Midnight’ continues Richard Linklater’s fascination with time. Exploring the nature of romance as it evolves over the years, his ‘Before’ films have been an interesting cinematic experiment. Arriving nine years after the last instalment, 2013’s ‘Before Midnight’ continues the high standards as it focuses on time’s eternal gaze.

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are currently attempting to walk the oft-tricky ‘work/life’ tightrope. While Jesse is now a successful novelist, Celine is weighing up an important job opportunity. Taking a break from various issues, Jesse and Celine holiday on the Greek Peloponnese peninsula. They reminisce about old times and map a path to a future where their dreams may not match their current reality.

‘Before Midnight’ further enhances Linklater’s examination of the art of communication. The series has made a virtue of the main characters having conversations benefitting their relationship. Good, bad or indifferent conversation is better than none as the evolution of Jesse and Celine’s partnership is seen. ‘Before Midnight’ finds them at a personal crossroads with the series’ focus on realism effectively maintained. It also effectively shows how the years have enriched all facets of their union.

As always, Hawke and Delpy deliver excellent performances. Long-term viewers know their characters as well as they do with their emotional authenticity making moments stand out. The minimal Greek locations look gorgeous, once again adding visual textures on top of the astutely realised dialogue.

Going by the typical nine year release pattern, the next instalment should arrive in 2022. Until then, ‘Before Midnight’ is a solid entry full of depth that’s worth seeing. Linklater’s and his leads’ enthusiasm in keeping this series going is appreciated with a fourth outing eagerly awaited.

Rating out of 10: 8


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