Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Before Midnight

Before Midnight
Starring:
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke


Rated: R for sexual content/nudity and language.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: May 24, 2013 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

Richard Linklater, director of the darkly amusing true-life Texas-based Bernie, is back one more time with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in a very gratifying, increasingly naturalistic adult romantic drama. One probably ideal for those who've experienced their previous incarnations that have had a strong cult following perhaps as a whole similar to the catching up with intimacy that Michael Apted has deftly done with the likes of 56 Up.

Before Midnight has the aforementioned back together as scriptures learning and maturing through Delpy's Celine and Hawke's Jesse (now in early middle age) having struggled through commitment and regret (after first meeting during the Clinton Administration).

About a decade has passed since the events of the previous Before film, Sunset and gradually get reacquainted with the passionate ups and downs of a couple in a long-term relationship as Linklater again reinforces his 'real-time' control over the proceedings.

With young twin daughters, Jesse and Celine are vacationing in Greece away from their Paris residence. Autumn is dawning as Jesse sends his adolescent son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) back to Chicago where he lives with Jesse's ex-wife. Talking about interest in extracurricular activities helps to set up the exchanges between the lovers and parents who carefully choose their words that always aren't alway of a resolute nature.

After a friendly gathering at a Greek villa, the philosophical and romantic collide in ways that reveal the tangible euphoria and resentment felt by two people who have the kind of friends who try to help spice things up for them at a hotel.

Fairytale elements are summoned by Linklater and his talented craftspeople in a distinctive approach to enkindle aspects of friendship and love that alternate through failure and success. A thematic resonance is conferred in a limited shooting schedule by longer takes say, for example, in a taxi, that saunters with a simmering glow to reflect the unique bond between two individuals going through change (of an experimental kind for Jesse relating to his writing).

It's hard not to find adoration for what Hawke and Delpy have created through the years of characters with this much emotional range that romantics can latch onto as the media and culture have dramatically changed. In Before Midnight they, along with their omniscient free-reigning director, stretch into a moving nightcap where wit and sorrow can resurface with unsentimental verisimilitude.

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