Saturday, May 25, 2013

Before Midnight

Writer/Director Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight is an excellent final segment of his trilogy on the relationship of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), who met in their 20s (Before Sunrise), reconnected in their 30s (Before Sunset) and are now a family in their 40s.

Though they might not realize what's happening, the romantically naïve Jesse and the tough, feminist Celine are each faced with an impeding middle-age crisis.   This situation reaches a fever-pitch at the end of their 6-week vacation in Greece, when Celine receives an offer for her “dream  job” in Paris and Jesse’s guilt over being absent from his son by his former marriage has him considering moving back to the States.

The film is an adult “talkie” in the tradition of Louie Malle’s My Dinner With Andre (1981), but it’s not about philosophy, but real relationships and, with the talent of co-Writers Delpy and Hawke, the talk is real and superbly executed.

Will their relationship survive?  Will it last?  You’ll have to decide for yourself.  As for me, the key is that they talk.  Their interaction is only interrupted by a few short calls from Jesse’s son, who is checking in as he flies home to Chicago.  There is no texting or glancing at messages.  There is honest conversation.  And, that, I believe, will be their salvation.  With whom else will they find that...besides a good therapist?  Well, yes, they both could use one.

I give Before Midnight a 5 for those who have seen the first two films and a 4+ for smart viewers, who are new to the trilogy.



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