Before Midnight (15)

Film

Romance

Before Midnight

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Fri Jan 25 2013

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reunite for a third film, after ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘Before Sunset’, in Richard Linklater’s occasional series about occasional lovers Jesse and Celine. Only now, the pair’s love is not so on-and-off: the American writer and French environmentalist have been a couple since we last saw them in Paris almost a decade ago. Kids are involved (best keep the plot vague; part of the fun is the discovery) and they’re on holiday in Greece at the villa of a convivial elderly writer (played, intriguingly, by legendary cinematographer Walter Lassally).

While the talk of the previous films was propelled by the thrill of a first meeting or of a reunion after many years, what’s there to chat about so incessantly when you’ve been together for nine years, however happy or disgruntled you are? A more muted study in settled silence would have been interesting, but that’s not this film or these characters.

And that’s a problem: Jesse and Celine chat non-stop on a long car journey and while walking to a kids-free night in a hotel. It’s as if all the hang-ups and baggage of this time in their lives – a child from a former marriage; a repetitive sex life; an expanding bum – are tabled for discussion on one afternoon. As ever, the energy and sense of spontaneity is enlivening, but there’s a slight air of phoniness that doesn’t sit well with the in-the-now realism of Linklater’s project.

‘Before Midnight’ becomes more interesting in a final section in which Linklater throws some shade on his story. The day begins to feel less like just another and more like a threshold in their lives, so justifying the ramped-up emotions and endless jaw-jaw. Luckily, Hawke and Delpy remain as charming as ever, and their combined goofiness is more endearing than annoying. Winning, too, is the sense that this peculiar project, though imperfect, could grow old with its audience and its cast.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jun 21, 2013

Duration:

109 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Richard Linklater

Cast:

Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
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  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|10
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12-string Frank

"Before Midnight" is one of the ... WORST films of 2013. Total depressing dreck. And it's on many critics' top 10 lists. WHY ???? I don't get it. This is more mysterious than than the identity of Jack The Ripper! It was pretentious. It had dialogue that went nowhere. It had two married losers arguing about nothing interesting. How can critics put this crap on their lists ??? Are they being paid ??

Lee

At times Before Midnight is painfully sad and at other times frothy and funny, but thanks to a witty yet occasionally heartwrenching script, Linklater's unobtrusive direction and Delpy and Hawke's chemistry this film is delightful throughout. Here's hoping for another instalment in 2022!

Lee

At times Before Midnight is painfully sad and at other times frothy and funny, but thanks to a witty yet occasionally heartwrenching script, Linklater's unobtrusive direction and Delpy and Hawke's chemistry this film is delightful throughout. Here's hoping for another instalment in 2022!

LR

Loved the previous 2 and wanted to catch up with this engaging couple. Was not disappointed. The constant question: how to keep passion alive in a long-term relationship - these 2 demonstrate. It's by arguing, not being afraid to be confrontational, using humour to break down barriers, remembering to keep revisiting what made it special in the first place, and all the rest. Roll on No 4 in 9 years' time.

LR

Loved the previous 2 and wanted to catch up with this engaging couple. Was not disappointed. The constant question: how to keep passion alive in a long-term relationship - these 2 demonstrate. It's by arguing, not being afraid to be confrontational, using humour to break down barriers, remembering to keep revisiting what made it special in the first place, and all the rest. Roll on No 4 in 9 years' time.

David Glowacki

This is the least effective of the trilogy.This type of film requires long pauses,a meander through life,and a sense of nostalgia..In this latest installment the dialogue is 100mph and non stop.It is full of smart Alec type script.The type you get in American sitcoms.In fact that is the central problem in that instead of being classic European film,it is essentially very American.The whole thing seems too self aware,the script too hard hitting and headstrong.The nudity is quite absurd..It has many lovely moments but it could have been a lot better.If your young and have not seen the the other two installments you'll not agree with this review

P. Freeman

The Time Out reviewer has put their finger on exactly where this film should have fallen down - the attempt to recreate real characters we have not seen for nine years in what was essentially two conversations and one row. But the film does this near impossibility brilliantly. The themes of the discussion/rows are just what you would expect to be ready to boil over in a holiday situation having been simmering for months and years. I have seldom felt so completely taken inside the lives of those being portrayed on the screen, and, in particular during the last third of the film was jaw droppingly engrossing as any five star thriller.

P. Freeman

The Time Out reviewer has put their finger on exactly where this film should have fallen down - the attempt to recreate real characters we have not seen for nine years in what was essentially two conversations and one row. But the film does this near impossibility brilliantly. The themes of the discussion/rows are just what you would expect to be ready to boil over in a holiday situation having been simmering for months and years. I have seldom felt so completely taken inside the lives of those being portrayed on the screen, and, in particular during the last third of the film was jaw droppingly engrossing as any five star thriller.