[Alexandru Vicol/Unsplash]

Before Midnight

00:00 June 14, 2013
By: David Vicari
[Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics]

***1/2 out of ****

When I first see Julie Delpy's character, Celine, in Before Midnight, I smiled. It was good to see Celine again. I enjoy spending time with her and Jesse (Ethan Hawke). We all first met in 1994 in Before Sunrise where the traveling American Jesse sees pretty French student Celine on a train in Vienna, and they strike up a conversation. They hit it off and spend the day together. We met again in 2004's Before Sunset when Celine catches up with Jesse, now married with a child, on his book tour in Paris.

As we now meet in Before Midnight, Jesse and Celine are a couple, with twin girls, and are vacationing in Greece. Like the previous two, it takes place within a period of less than 24 hours and the two main characters basically just talk. They discuss their relationship, their children, their past, and their future together. It's funny, thoughtful, sometimes uncomfortable, and always stirring conversation.

Director Richard Linklater opens up the canvas to include more characters, but doesn't deviate from the two main characters and their relationship. He directed all three and doesn't repeat himself. The first time they met as strangers, the second was a meeting of old friends and the third is now a complicated union. This is brilliant filmmaking and you should do yourself a favor - rent the first two if you haven't seen them already, and then head out to the movie theater to see Before Midnight.

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