18 years ago Before Sunrise was released in theatres, establishing a series of films documenting the romance between Jesse and Celine. Rocky and ill-timed, the couple’s relationship is nevertheless magically captivating. At the conclusion of the second instalment, Before Sunset, the American man and French woman are at her flat in Paris, with Jesse planning to leave, but not moving a muscle. Now, in Before Midnight, nine years later, where are the two?
Before Midnight finds Jesse and Celine in the south of Greece with their twin daughters and Hank, Jesse’s son from his first marriage. The end of the summer is worrisome for Jesse and his son, who must return home to his mother in America to begin high school. Celine, listening intently to her husband, fears their life in Europe may be under threat. As the couple surround themselves with friends, young and old, they wonder if their relationship has run its course or is worth fighting for?
Stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have certainly aged since 1995, but they have not lost their enchanting chemistry. Obviously Jesse and Celine have grown, but their behaviour has not matured. Collaborating with director Richard Linklater on the script, it is obvious Delpy and Hawke enjoy their characters. Whether it is the more than decade-long partnership or acting ability, the two are reminiscent of classic Hollywood couples – a welcome change of pace from the norm.
The career of director Richard Linklater is an unbalanced one. While Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are the most pleasing in his filmography, there are also sizable followings for Slacker and Dazed and Confused. However, an emphasis on some of his lesser efforts has caused viewers to doubt his work. Thankfully Before Midnight is more than satisfactory: it is savoury. And though it may be the final chapter for Jesse and Celine, viewers would certainly not mind an epilogue.
Before Midnight is released nationwide on 21st June 2013.
Watch the trailer for Before Midnight here: