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Now Playing: Before Midnight

Before Midnight
dir. Richard Linklater, 2013, USA/Greece
Rating: 9.4

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The bottom line: a love story for the ages.

Now playing in limited release is Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, the third and presumably final chapter in the director’s much beloved “Before” series, following 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset. It is, against all odds (especially considering the sublime note on which the second one ended), the best of the three, which means it’s also one of the very best American films made by anyone in recent decades. When I first wrote a capsule review of Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy in 2010, I posited that it may have been influenced by Before Sunset. However unlikely that seemed at the time, Before Midnight explicitly repays the compliment and arguably out-Kiarostamis Kiarostami by kicking off with a couple of long-take traveling shots through a car windshield that re-introduce viewers to Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine (both now an impossibly old 41-years-young and in a long-term relationship) as they drive and casually chat in Linklater’s trademark witty-naturalistic-philosophical-conversational style and, more importantly, end the film by engaging in a role-play scenario that daringly inverts the strangers-pretending-to-be-a-married-couple premise of Certified Copy.

In between these indelible scenes, we also have nods to Eric Rohmer and Roberto Rossellini (whose Journey to Italy, the ultimate film about marriage, played the Gene Siskel Film Center in a neat coincidence last week). But Linklater’s mise-en-scene, which captures gorgeous Peloponnesian landscapes and ancient Greek architecture in fluid tracking shots and epic long takes, is always gratifyingly subservient to the emotional fireworks between the couple occupying the center of the frame, and is also entirely his own; this rigorous sense of style (which the director smartly explicated — by way of Caveh Zahedi and Andre Bazin — way back in his 2003 feature Waking Life but has apparently only recently come to fully realize) contributes to a heightened sense of realism by allowing us to feel that these characters are inhabiting a real space in real time. It is a perfect marriage of form and content that allows the film to go places emotionally that most other directors can only dream of taking their viewers: Jesse may still be the pretentious-but-charming writer and Celine may still be the romantic-but-neurotic feminist, but Linklater’s camera observes, wisely and without judgement, how the necessary work that must go into any successful long-term monogamous relationship has shifted the dynamic between them in the nine years since Before Sunset. Also new is how an awareness of encroaching mortality has crept into their dialogue. I especially love the way the characters continually stop in mid-conversation to point out aspects of transient nature in their immediate environment (ripe tomatoes hanging on the vine, wandering goats, a barking dog, a sinking sunset), each marked by insert shots that break up the long takes and highlight Linklater’s uncanny feel for the ephemeral.

Credit, of course, also belongs to Hawke and Delpy for co-authoring the screenplay as well as poignantly imbuing Jesse and Celine with such deeply felt life experience. Thanks to the actors’ easy chemistry, it has never been easier to believe that the characters in a sequel (much less a sequel to a sequel) are those same damn people who we’ve met and cared about before (give or take nine or eighteen years). To see this film is to feel that one is hanging out with old, dear friends. Or at least that’s the way it feels for most of Before Midnight‘s charming first two-thirds, which establish it as a worthy companion piece to its excellent predecessors — in particular during a villa-luncheon scene involving characters who are clearly meant to represent younger and older doppelgangers of the romantic leads. But it’s the shocking verisimilitude of the final third, a hotel room argument that is as painful in the rawness of its emotions as it is psychologically acute (my wife and I marveled afterwards at how many of its sentiments we had ourselves expressed verbatim in conversation), that lifts this movie into the realm of the transcendental. Which I suppose is a fancy way for me to say that Before Midnight really touched my heart and that it made me cry more than any official “comedy” I have ever seen. If you care about cinema, you need to see this masterpiece on the big screen. If you don’t live in a town where it’s playing, I’d suggest driving to one where it is.

You can check out the trailer for Before Midnight via YouTube below:

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About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

53 responses to “Now Playing: Before Midnight

  • jilliemae

    Great review, but you forgot the disclaimer to bring Kleenex…

    • michaelgloversmith

      Well, I did say that it made me cry harder than any comedy I’ve ever seen — but I don’t expect everyone to have the same personal and highly emotional reaction that I did!

      • nick

        Good movie overall which had a mix of comedy and romance mix together that made movie enjoyable. I was surprise because I didn’t thought it would be that good for a romantic movie which was a slow pace movie. I would recommend this movie for a couple because they could relate more with the film.

  • Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop

    So pleased with the positive reviews this is getting, cant wait to check it out. God forbid my local cinema decide not to show it!

  • Bherz

    Can’t wait to see it. Definitely need to bring a nice lady to this one.

  • Ally

    I have to say that there was one obscure line of the movie that really stuck with me. The scene where Jessie is talking about his next book idea and he’s talking about one character who looks too far into the future, and describes him as someone who picks up a book and thinks about the absolute last person who will read this. I can’t seem to get this thought out of my head. As a lover of books, I’ve always imagined them as these immortal pieces of work that would withstand the test of time and the idea that for every book that is written there will be one person who will read it last astounds me

    • michaelgloversmith

      Interesting interpretation! I thought that line meant that he wondered who the last person would be to pick up that particular physical copy of the book — but you could be right. It could mean he wonders who the last person to read ANY version of the book could be.

  • Joe

    I wasn’t use to seeing this type of movie but for a mostly monolog film it was very good. I felt it was the best relatable film I’ve seen. It defiantly put you steady and slow roller-coaster of emotions with one big drop at the end.

  • Becca W.

    In my opinion, I felt this film both built off of and added to the two previous entries in the “Before…” trilogy. I felt a sense of accomplishment being able to watch Jesse and Céline steadily grow and mature in a way that eventually becomes native to us all. The film evoked a very raw emotional power thanks to all too-real passage of time experienced by both the characters and the audience. While I am still in the “Tutorial” phase of my life (an apt gaming-centric phrase coined by my boyfriend Joe), I connected to the natural exchanges shared between Jesse and Céline. I especially appreciated Céline’s introspective comments on the human condition. Just as with the two previous films, I found myself drawn to her sentiments on this particular issue, and the sense of finality our existence as humans is given when we consider ourselves simply passers-by in the greater scheme of things.

    I felt this issue was tastefully and thought-provokingly touched upon during the scene where Jesse confers with the four Grecian men–who are all noticeably placed at different points along the lifespan spectrum–about his books and their reactions to them. I felt Jesse’s trilogy of books and the men’s reaction to them stand as a metaphor for life and how we come to see it, based on our experiences up until that point. As such, the men’s range of takes on these books fell neatly in-line with how one typically feels about their life up until that point based on their age. For instance, as you grow older, the culmination of your experiences allows you to look back on your life with an informed eye. This vantage point gives you the unique opportunity to fully acknowledge the scope of all you have been through, as opposed to someone younger, who is generally more narrow-minded and simply eager to begin the next chapter in their life.

    In all, I highly enjoyed and connected to this film, and plan on dragging my willing mother (as she enjoys these sorts of thought-provoking films) and less-than willing father to go see it sometime soon in the future!

    • michaelgloversmith

      Glad to hear you’ll be taking your, folks! I like your comment about the “tutorial” phase of life (the same phase Jesse and Celine are in in the first film). Generally, I think the first two films are best appreciated if you see them when you are the same age as the characters (I think BEFORE SUNSET, especially, is about a very specific kind of disappointment that you are only capable of feeling in your 30s). But you’re right — the key to relating to BEFORE MIDNIGHT has less to do with age and more to do with having been/being in a long-term relationship.

      Having different characters represent the different stages of life is one of the film’s finest touches. What really impresses me is that Linklater is able to include characters and scenes with such obvious “symbolic” value (I’m also thinking of the time-travel machine at the end) but he integrates them in such a natural way that you don’t really realize what he’s done until it’s over. That’s the “narrative continuity” way!

  • Maria Reyes

    This is, so far, the first and only live-action film in which I’ve actually cried while watching. I’m not sure if I can watch the previous films after this.

    I liked the film and was impressed because of how well such a mundane premise is executed and had kept my interest for an hour and a half; this is coming from a woman with severe AD/HD and a passion for goofy animated films, which is pretty much the opposite. The acting in the long takes are impressive and felt completely natural, almost like I could have been there. The open-ended conclusion also helped to add to this effect, since life is almost always uncertain.

    I also hated the film because of how well it was executed to the point that the events and some of the people were TOO similar to those events of my own life. I found myself mentally arguing with both Jesse and Celine towards the end, taking turns on whom to side with. I got annoyed with Jesse for coming off as flighty and pretentious, and annoyed with Celine for shoehorning her “feminist” agenda into their conversations and acting like a control freak. Then I realized how familiar these conversations were; as in I’ve listened, witnessed, or participated in them before, in both Jesse and Celine’s shoes. I thought back to the arguments my parents had before they got divorced, and how I’ve become so anxious about my own love life as a result. So when Celine starts shouting at Jesse about how she might not love him anymore was when I wished I had a box of Kleenex with me. Again, this is a first, for live-action, that is; Pixar is still the biggest offender in making me hysterical in a theater (I’m looking at YOU, Up and Toy Story 3). It took a whole night of watching nothing but slapstick cartoons and puppy videos to recover.

    WONDERFUL film, probably never watching it again. 9/10

    • michaelgloversmith

      I know what you mean about “TOO similar.” After I saw it with my wife we marveled at how much of the dialogue was similar to our own conversations. When I asked her if she wanted to see it with me a second time, she replied with something like, “I don’t need to see it again. I LIVE it.”

      I’m with you about UP too. I was embarrassed to find myself crying during the opening marriage-montage sequence when I saw it in the theater. Why didn’t anyone warn me those opening 15 minutes were so devastating?!

  • Sachi Fujita

    Since I’ve never seen the other two ‘Befores’ some of the parts in the movie where Celine and Jesse were relating back to their pasts made me feel lost, yet Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy made it seemingly easy to be able to at least try to put the pieces together. I’ve never seen a film that truly related to my life and even other people’s relationships quite like this one. During some of the takes, I was like okay, when is this talk going to end? But then I realized, this is exactly how my chats go with people when I drive with them. I really did like this movie since like you said in the last paragraph, I was sitting in my seating blown back by the many times in the hotel argument where both of the sides made me think back to my own relationship. I was like shit! my boyfriend just used that exact sentence or had the same thinking as Jesse did. On the flip side, I was also startled by the many things that Celine said that made me think I was having dejavu in a past fight of things that I would have said also. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it made me want to see the other two.

    • michaelgloversmith

      Sachi, I think you totally get the spirit of what Linklater is trying to do in the driving scene (a 10 minute+ sequence that is broken into only two shots!); Quentin Tarantino once said that DAZED AND CONFUSED is one of the all-time great “hang-out movies” — meaning he could watch it over and over again because it makes him feel like he’s hanging out with the characters. I think this is true of all Linklater’s films — including the “Before trilogy.” Hope you get to see the other two!

  • Julie

    Being age 25, there are not many movies I feel myself, my mom and my grandma could see together, appreciate together and relate to together. Before Midnight is that movie. It’s one of those films that makes your soul feel good. The dinner scene was probably my favorite part. I felt as if I was sitting at the table with everyone just taking in their stories about life and love. In my personal life I’m in a newer relationship in the falling in love stage and one of my very best friends recently ended a relationship with a man she 99% sure she was going to marry. So it really affected me personally in different ways. I even told my friend she has to see it and I would go again. I laughed out loud, I felt frustrated and I teared up twice. But I enjoyed every minute of it. Relating to City Lights ending, I love that there is no final answer to their future. I hope this is the last one and we can make our own predictions on the future of Jesse and Celine.

    • michaelgloversmith

      Good point of comparison between the “no final answer” endings of BEFORE MIDNIGHT and CITY LIGHTS, Julie. Another similarity, I think, is the overall sweetness of tone of both films. Neither Linklater nor Chaplin believe in villains; you end up liking all of their characters.

  • Kara B

    That’s 2/2 movies you’ve showed us that I expected to dismiss and 2/2 movies I’ve been pleasantly surprised with. Watching Before Midnight was like watching pieces of my past relationships all come together on-screen with Jesse and Celine. Their love and passion for one another was so evident throughout the movie, no matter what insults they spewed at each other during arguments. I loved that the ending was optimistic and had them role playing and being playful together again. I would have been disappointed and left feeling a little sour if he would have ended the film mid argument. I will definetly be seeing this again, maybe with my mom to get her (recently divorced after 30 years) perspective.

  • Hassam

    In my opinion, this movie is an amazing piece of film art. In the beginning of this movie, i was little lost that where it was going (the airport scene) one, But as i watched the whole movie i was pretty impress by the story and it really touched my heart. I really love the way that how all the characters were acting that it was a real life conversation throughout the movie. i usually don’t watch romance type movies but after watching before midnight i felt like it was all real, from expressions to dialogues everything was all done fantastical. In the movie, the scene which i felt beautiful was the dinner table where every one talks about their relationship and how they met first time. The other thing which i loved about this outstanding movie was the location for each shots. I felt that the director (Richard Linklater) has make a very touching connection in the movie between characters and the audience who watched this movie. In the end, i believe that in Bollywood movies, this kind of real life story and this kind of connection of true love can not be found.

  • Jenna S

    I have to admit, I was a bit wary about watching this film when you mentioned in class that you had a girl in your other class that found it long and drawn out, because a lot of the time i have a hard time staying focused and into movies. But i was very pleasantly surprised with how the film turned out. I was immediately trapped in the long monologues, and when the movie ended, i was not only left wanting more, but not realizing it was the end!

    I think my favorite part of the movie was the constant philosophical diving into the differences between genders, and the way men and women treat each other in relationships. I consider myself a feminist (though not as neurotic as Celine), and all of the talk reminded me of old talks I’ve had in different classes and with friends.

    All of the film editing was smooth and fluid; I felt like I was there with the characters throughout the entire film, but mostly during the driving scene and the dinner scene. I couldn’t turn away from this film.

    This movie really captured a part of my soul, and I’ve been trying to convince everyone I know that they ABSOLUTELY need to see it, and I’m probably going to see the first two as well.

  • Lyle Shefka

    Having recently seen Before Midnight with the CLC class I am left with one main thought: Other people’s conversations can be exhausting.

    For a movie where very little happens (compared to many other films I have seen) the action is nonstop. Seemingly endless conversations, that seem all too real, reflect back on my life. I feel like I’ve had similar conversations in my past; though I question whether or not I and the persons I spoke with, exerted the same energy.

  • Nathan V

    I was another skeptic going in to watch this film. I was surprised by how real it felt. The long takes and great acting made it feel like they they really weren’t acting at all.

  • JOsHuA CoLeMAn

    ok,,., 1st off, let me just say im not USUALLY into this brand of film……. But Before Midnight was a movie that JUST mite make me give romantic comedies another real try. OR, maybe im just getting a little older and can relate to them alot more at my present place of life. Many things stick out to me about a movie like this, to me it seems that i needed to see it for a few reasons. As we discussed in class, films communicate things to us as we engage our attention into them correctly. Honestly, Before Midnight is not really a “Theatre” choice for me on my own terms, probably more of a “movie night with my girlfriend” choice in my mind. Nonetheless, I am glad i watched it, and I learned a lot from watching this film…………….>>> The scenery throughout the entire movie was BEAUTIFUL, the dialogue between the characters was very refreshing and enlightening at the same time. I would have played these roles for free just to visit a place with that much beauty everywhere you look. Gives you a very alluring look into a different cultured setting than most modern films that i come across. Very relatable in various ways. As an artist, and an author being one of the many things I aspire to be, also being in a relationship with a fairly feminist independent minded woman, I definitely understand the clash between the two main characters…. lol. & in the place in life i find myself today, i could possibly, just maybe see the next 13 years of my life taking me to a place similar to where these two exist within Before Midnight….. The long scenes were very different, & hard to follow for the first few minutes, until i realized we were gonna be there in that scene for a while and began to take it all in… The fact that the Hawke and Delpy co-wrote the script makes a whole lot of sense. They seem to play these roles very naturally, and the long scenes almost make you think your in a room watching 2 real people living their lives….. Altogether, a great film….. not just sayin that i mean it….. & that MITE mean im getting a little older……. lol

  • David Cho

    I want to say that it was such a beautiful and realistic movie. The movie was 4 different scenes and the conversations that take place in those scenes. Its a movie about life and peoples relationships and how we get along with each other. I actually expected a little bit more big plot, but it was not. so, I kind of disapointed it. When it ended i was not sure it was really the end, because not much had happened. I guess I am just too spoiled with action movies and expect more than talk when I go to a movie. But it was still funny and enjoyable. I felt that this movie is more like a real story and it can be happen to me or its already happening to me.
    I totally enjoyed the movie. Thank you.

  • Joe A.

    I have to say that this film was truly something of a real marvel of how it portrays “real” emotions and how seeing this film has given me such a great appreciation with what a film can do with only a few scenes.

    Now the biggest thing I felt was the real “hook” that drew me in was the ending. I felt that the ending was not only something to be interpreted but felt truly organic. The ending gave me a a feeling of, not say some sort of false ending like most romantic films, but rather something truly unique but real. I felt that the ending was so seamless and lifelike that It left me wondering for hours afterwords.

    Overall I would say that this film was something that is usually not a genre I get so engrossed with but I can honestly say I would now really love to see the first two films to get a greater perspective of the deeply developed characters!

  • Doran H

    When the movie starts at the airport, it seems like something I would never be interested in.
    However, throughout their conversation, this film has become one of my favorite movies.
    When they drive through country side, we see them talking and arguing at the same time.
    Obviously, that is the long take, but their conversation and acting in the car seem like they are talking and arguing in reality. Only thing what I really wish is that their love story were true. They are so romantic. I think their love is clearly stable and healthy although they argue a lot. It is really good movie! I really enjoyed! I cannot wait to watch the first two!!

  • Michael Mani

    I felt like this film was a very good and realistic depiction of the relationship of married couples nowadays. It’s not like most Hollywood movies where it would have conflicts but everything will be resolved in the end. Instead we are left guessing what would happen or what will happen. I like how it was left open ended.

  • Jeff Gloyer

    This film surprised me in a few different ways. The most recent of which came after I read your review. While watching the film, I didn’t even realize that this was a sequel, let alone a third film. I felt like I enjoyed the film and even understood and was able to relate to the emotions of the characters without having seen the previous two films. I believe that speaks volumes to the quality of the film, as it can be enjoyed as a stand alone piece. I’m sure having seen the first two films would have made the film seem that much better.

    The acting was actually quite surprising as well. The way that Hawke and Deply were able to act out scenes that were several minutes in length without a break is remarkable. The scene driving back from the airport, and the scene walking to the hotel are the two that stand out the most. The way they speak to each other so naturally, its almost as if a lot of the movie wasn’t scripted.

    The film is deeply rooted in realism, as I can relate to a few of the conversations myself. They did a wonderful job of evoking emotion from me, forcing me to pick a side in their argument. I actually felt the frustration that Jessie felt during the conversation in the hotel with Celine. I could feel myself wanting to respond to her comments, as if it were me that were arguing with her. Its rare that a film actually evokes that kind of emotion from me these days, and it was a rather refreshing surprise.

    While I do believe that it was worth it to see it in the theater, I don’t believe this is one of those films that MUST be seen in a theater. I think this film could be enjoyed just as much in the comfort of your own home. Some movies are meant for the big screen. I don’t feel that this is the case for this film.

  • Kevin Gloyer

    I enjoyed this movie much more than i thought i would. When most people think of “slow” movies they think of boring films. I think that “slow” movies that include extended dialogue create a better feel for the story and its characters. I think that “before midnight” captured this well. I saw several film techniques that we have already learned in class. The main technique being the long take. I believe that taking such long takes requires a better actor to be able to get all the dialogue out without making a mistake. Overall I think this movie was very well acted had a great storyline and had a good ending. I would recommend this movie to any couple that wanted to see a movie about REAL love.

    • michaelgloversmith

      Good point about “slow” vs. “boring,” Kevin. Slow is a word that objectively describes the RHYTHM of a film and does not mean that it’s inherently boring. Linklater could have used thousands of edits between different camera angles to break up his scenes into many different shots and make the pace “faster” (like an action movie) but that would have been inappropriate given the subject matter, no? Conversely, many fast-paced movies can be boring!

  • Kyla Stancy

    I really enjoyed this film. I felt as if I could real relate to the characters. I also thought that it was a very interesting story line. I found the sense when they were at the dinner table amazing. I liked how they had a couple from each generation of adults at the tableland you were able to see from each of their points of view. I would defiantly recommend this movie to anyone who likes romantic comedy’s! Great movie!!

  • Victor Abrego

    Perfect movie. I would have cried had I been alone haha. I find myself enjoying movies more when I’m alone, not sure how to take that. I’m sure if I ever find my other half it will change, just a hopeless romantic ya know. Romance comedies are my favorite genre, so I was excited when you first told us about the movie, as you obviously know what your talking about. I knew what to expect because i saw the first two movies.The long takes just make everything feel so real. You feel like your with them and find yourself wanting to interject throughout their conversations. You can tell what they have is real love, they are able to talk about anything and everything.The actors played their roles perfectly, i cant imagine how hard it must be to act for such long takes. The scenery of Greece was so beautiful as well!! It definitely makes everything that much better, sets the tone. Again, like the second movie, it ended perfectly. I’m okay if there isn’t another movie because i know this isn’t a movie, “this is the really real world.” AND WHEN I GET THE MONEY, I WILL FIND YOU JULIE DEPLY & ETHAN HAWKE!

  • Victor

    At first, i must admit i was skeptical about a romantic comedy. I have been dragged to plenty of awful romantic comedies in the past. However, “After Midnight” was an exception. Not only did it exceed my expectations. Its perhaps one of the best movies I’ve seen in a well. Richard Linklater blended the deep and serious emotions of romance with the feel good sense of comedy, beautifully. The way the film took you in so many different vectors of emotion. One instant i would be laughing then next near in tears. Furthermore i would like to point the great cinematography in this film. The long takes throughout the film where done to perfection. The long takes made me feel as if i was really listening to an actual conversation. Only making the connection between me and the actors stronger. As i mention before, i enjoyed how the director really took you through a series emotions, and all in one take! I was quite impressed how Linklater cleverly composed the complex dialog to take you through a series of emotions. Linklater seems to have such a grasp on life, and he portrays it wonderfully in this film. In other romantic comedies, i can clearly tell its a movie, because i keep thinking to myself “that would never happen in real life”. But in this film i never had such thoughts. Many people and directors my think real life problems and relationships are too boring for the cinema, so they spice em’ up and exaggerate them to a point of disbelieve. Yet,this film was great at keeping me in the realm of reality. And beautiful records life and real problems, not exaggerated love stories. I had more emotions for the characters because i had a more real life connection with them. lastly, i hope to remember this film in 15 years and watch again so i can truly get a full understanding for this film.

  • Victor

    also best line “i got a Trojan in my bi fold and a rocket in my pocket” i don’t know how many times i said that since i seen the film. this film is great for quotes.

  • Brittany Carrington

    I really loved this movie. I had never saw anything like it, but as a result, I want to see the other two movies in the “Before” series. I connected with the two main characters and how they are dealing with life because I have been through situations like that before. The film was very well written, but it seemed like Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy gave themselves enough room to be impromptu and I appreciated that. The dialogue between them is so fluid and the chemistry so great, almost like Hawke and Delpy are together off screen. The long takes help to make the film even better. They help the viewer to understand the characters and the emotion behind everything being said. There is no ‘cut to another scene’; the camera stays there long enough for everything and everyone in the scene to be taken in. I also liked that there wasn’t a lot of music in the film; that made it seem even more of a natural day in the 2 main characters lives. I especially loved the hotel scene in the film. She would argue, leave and then come back to argue some more only to leave again. I’ve done that before and only came back because I either forgot something or had something else to say-you have to win the argument!
    Thank you for showing us this movie! I already recommended it to my family.

  • Kyle Haynes

    To be perfectly honest, I was not looking forward to the movie that much. The idea of simply dialogue throughout the film evoked the impression of a slow and drawn out premise. I am incredibly happy to say that all of my worries of this were obliterated upon seeing the absolute power the movie packed with its incredible attention to character development and simple camera work. The scene at the dinner table was done so perfectly, that it was easy to feel like you were there, listening to these stories, and laughing along with them. Not once has a movie brought me close to tears, regardless of my interest in the film. I am stoked to watch the two previous entries in the series, and picking up Before Midnight when it is released on blu-ray. The entire series deserves a spot in the Criterion Collection, if they all have the same impact, like Before Midnight did, on my emotions. A good movie doesn’t necessarily need anything more than beautiful dialogue and immensely talented actors in order to make it a masterpiece. Thank you for introducing an absolute classic to us!

    Before Midnight = 10/10

  • Tony Kaminsky

    This movie really surprised me because the thought of a romantic comedy made me think the movie was going to be really dramatic and corny. I was very impressed with how long some of the takes were, such as the car ride and when they were walking through the ruins and into town. I think all the actors made the movie seem very real and it did grow on me as the movie went on and I became more and more interested in what was going to happen. I actually told some of my friends that they should go see it because it has a really good story and it is a little funny as well. The ending to the movie was very unique and it left me wondering what ever happened to Henry and if they were going to move to Chicago or not.

  • gabrielle will

    thought this film was really beautiful and so natural that it almost didn’t even seem like they were acting. i’m not sure about the male character, but i feel as if every girl could relate to the female character in some aspect. i think about the scene at the table with the widow explaining how the memories and details of someone one close slowly become distant. she was able to put such a strong feeling into words.

  • John L

    Well, I’m going to see the movie again this weekend with my lovely lady and I would go sooner if I could. Relatable is an understatement for this movie. I couldn’t decide if I was watching good friends on the screen, or my own relationship. I’ve played the film in my head over and over and it gets better everytime.

  • Liza Torrence

    Before I saw this movie, multiple friends told me that it was a sappy chick-flick and is literally 2 people simply talking for the whole movie. I thought that I would just go to the movie like everyone else, for participation and to at least say I saw it. However when I saw the first ten minutes or so of the film, I was pleasantly surprised. There were 2 people in the car talking for a long period of time in one single shot. I have never seen anything like it in any movie I’ve seen so this made me intrigued to see the rest, although they were only talking about realistic goals and “grown-up” problems.
    I also really enjoyed how the movie was not necessarily plot driven, but it had a very distinct (at least to me) rising action, climax, and a resolution. Throughout the film, Jesse and Celine are starting to have doubts and challenges with themselves about each other-ultimately engaging in one of the most interesting on-screen arguments I have ever seen.
    My favorite part about the whole movie is not just one thing. I really loved the fact that a movie based on fictional people circled around Jesse’s book about a ‘fictional’ story about him and his wife. He made his wife out to be this perfect women who he indeed was madly in love with but that there were no problems and an utopia for a marriage. But in the movie, or Jesse and Celine’s reality, they and theyre marriage wasn’t perfect and Celine even denied her love to Jesse after all those perfect years. I guess I really liked this overall aspect of false validity and fabricated love-life because it shows the audience that nothing is perfect, and nothing ever will be.

  • Fiona

    I thought the movie was okay. I believe that the scene were too long . Although some of the conversation between the characters was interesting , some of the dialogue was a bit boring. i love the scenery ; Greece is absolutely beautiful. One part in the film that i found ridiculous was the scene in the hotel. I believe a lot of people could relate to this scene however arguing topless is completely unnecessary and unrealistic. It just made the whole scene awkward.Overall, the movie was good.

  • Mike Goers

    When watching Before Midnight it felt hollow to me, this might be just because I haven’t seen either of the first two movies. Their weren’t many different characters during the movie, with this they want you to get emotionally attached to them. I was able to do this as i was only attempting to figure them out. All in all it was good, however, I feel it would could have been great if I’d seen the first two movies.

  • Erika Freihofer

    An excellent movie in every way! Your comment about how the first 2/3 of the film feels like “hanging out with old, dear friends” is spot on, and this is coming from a viewer who has seen neither of the preceding films. The dialogue was so beautifully written and seamlessly delivered by the actors and, when combined with the use of (almost exclusively) long-shots, created a striking amount of intimacy between the viewer and the characters. There a such a striking sense that what you are seeing is real; that these people truly exist and know, love, and understand each other, and that you know, love and understand them as a viewer. There is nothing that feels unnatural about what you are witnessing, no betraying moments that feel just a bit too “Hollywood”. I felt like every character in this film could have been a dear friend or a member of my family, and I saw myself and my loved ones in them. I was most struck by the dinner scene, which contained such beautifully written dialogue about life and love, and was also my favorite example of natural interaction between characters. I thought that it really nailed that organic kind of interjection between voices that happens in real life, and is often lost in movies to provide for plot instead.

    There is only one aspect of the movie that betrays the viewers illusion that this film could be happening in the context of their own lives, and that is the beautiful Grecian setting. While most viewers are more likely the see the dinner scene happen on plastic lawn furniture, this movie provides an idyllic, heart-wrenchingly beautiful setting for nearly every moment. But this serves a great purpose: it contributes to the sense that this is truly an amazing love story. The ultimate romantic setting sheds a light on this relationship that would be lost if it took place in the suburbs of Chicago; without it we might not be reminded that their relationship, whether it should succeed or fail, was epic and unconventional and romantic in an almost Shakespearean way.

    A+ from me! Can’t wait to see the first two and reunite with these characters soon.

    • michaelgloversmith

      It’s funny that you mention how the film would be different if it took place in the suburbs. Apparently, the original plan was to have it take place in Paris (where Celine and Jessie live) and show them going about their routines on a normal day — dropping the kids off at school, etc. After going down this route for a while during the screenwriting stage, Linklater, Delpy and Hawke realized it wasn’t working and needed to take place somewhere where the characters would be on vacation. I agree that it is romantic in a Shakespearean way!

  • Elaine T

    Before Midnight was one of those movies that leaves you thinking about it long after its over. I loved the long conversations that were taken in only a few shots, and thought it was incredible that the actors could continue such a natural conversation for such a long period of time. The movie was so beautifully simple that regardless if you liked the plot, the conversations, or the characters, you at least had to appreciate the nature of the film. Although I hadn’t seen the first two “Before” movies, I did enjoy this film. However, there were definitely parts that were a bit confusing at first, and I think I would’ve appreciated this film even more had I seen the prequels.
    Although I did enjoy the longer shots and natural conversation, by the end of most of these conversations I did find myself a little bored. The conversations were sometimes too long, adding to the realism of the film but taking away from the excitement. The comedy aspect of the film is what saved the conversations from being too boring, and the sarcasm and jokes made by the couple made me feel like they were real people.
    The hotel scene was just incredible to me. Although the majority of the time I just felt awkward about her nakedness, I have to give that scene real credit. I have never in my life seen a scene like that. The fighting was spot on, almost too realistic for a movie that it made me feel like I just wanted it to be over. And every argument they had was completely valid. It was almost impossible to choose a side because I liked both characters and could see where each was coming from.

  • David Ramirez

    Overall I thought that Before Midnight was a good movie. I thought that this movie was very slow pace but still managed to grab my attention. I usually am not a big fan of these types of movies just because I always end up falling asleep but shockingly I was wide awake during this movie. The movie had a good story plot. I didn’t watch the one before this one so I am not sure I can relate it to that one. I did feel that throughout this movie they kept complaining about their relationship but at the end of it all they still were able to find love for each other. I think that even with them always complaining to each other they will no matter have love for each other. That is what I think the whole point of this movie was. To show that even with them always fighting they will always love each other no matter what. Overall I thought it was a good movie.

  • Mike H.

    At first I thought that this movie was just going to be another chick flick that was going to drive me completely crazy. I started to get into it right away and related to it in so many ways. The one thing that jumped out at me was when Ethan Hawk had his head buried into the couch. I just felt like i knew what he was thinking at this point. Stop fighting with her even though she is so freaking crazy! But that never happens the fight must go on. Overall I thought that this was a good movie that everyone can relate to.

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