Friday, May 31, 2013


Before Midnight

Before Midnight official site In "Before Sunrise" (1995), director Richard Linklater introduces us to couple fascinating characters, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who meet on a train in Europe then spend the night walking and talking on streets in Vienna before sunrise. Nine years later, Jesse and Julie get a second chance to be together and continue their conversation in director Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" (2004).

Another nine years past. Like reconnecting with long lost friends, we are thrilled to catch up with Jesse and Julie in director Richard Linklater's brilliant "Before Midnight" (USA 2013 | 108 min.). Eighteen years later since we first met them, these two arresting characters become more mature physically, but they are also more charming, charismatic, intellectual, cultured, and illuminating. Even the year is still early, I am quite certain this beautiful film will be on my top-ten-list for films in 2013.

In this latest installment of "Before Series," Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are in their early 40s. They now live together in Paris raising their young twin daughters, but Jesse constantly feels the anxiety for being physically apart from his son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick).

Jesse and Celine come to Greece during the summer for a writer's retreat at a villa of a renowned Greek writer Patrick (Walter Lassally). They seem relaxed and finally don't have to be somewhere by a certain time. Along gorgeous Greek seashore, within one day's time frame, they walk, talk, laugh, argue, and challenge each other's ideas and behaviors.

They seem never run out topics, big or small, to talk about and we never get tired of eavesdropping on their engrossing conversations.

Before Midnight official site

Director Richard Linklater co-writes the film's outstanding script with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The conversations are beautifully written and are full of wit, humor, insight, and passion. In fact, they are so well-written that as if the actors are improvising in the film.

Although we are still watching the same actors playing the same characters as in two "Before" prequels, the film makes little reference to the plots in two previous films. Therefore, you are able to fully engage in these characters if this is the first time you come across with these two charismatic individuals. However, if you have seen the previous two films, watching this new film make you feel like you are reuniting with old friends and appreciate the opportunity to observe the changes in these characters after another nine years.

Besides the brilliant direction, the creations of these characters are also credit to the flawless performances by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Looked effortless, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy naturally yet impeccably deliver scene after scene, in extremely long takes. They appear just like an ordinary couple, but they possess extraordinary charisma that we can't turn our eyes away from them. They always have something to say that's worth listening.

Will Jesse and Celine return to the big screen in another nine year? I have no doubt, or I should say I sincerely hope so, because these two characters already have become part of our cinema experience and they never seem to fade away.

"Before Midnight," a Sony Pictures Classics release, opens on Friday, May 31, 2013 at Bay Area theaters.

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