Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Movie Review Madness - Before Midnight

Before Midnight is the end of a trilogy and it's been a fun, talking, walking, angstfest. Directed by Richard Linklater, the Before series stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. We met them first in Before Sunrise - freshfaced and touring Europe by train. They disembark in Venice, introduce themselves, and end up strolling the streets, talking, eating, and just being carefree youth. It's glorious - the scenery, the energy, and perhaps young love. But alas they part.

Before Sunset brings us up to date. Ethan's written a book about the day in Venice (disguised as fiction) and is now on an author tour with a stop in Paris. Julie sees a poster and shows up. Time has passed and they are both married and mature. Yet, the old magic is there and things click in Paris. But there are issues and baggage and more arguments. Could they be a couple? Eh - shrug like a Frenchman.

Finally, years have passed and it's Before Midnight. The duo are in their 40s now and surprise - married and vacationing in Greece. And they have twin girls approximately seven years old. But, Ethan's son spent the summer with them and heads back to the USA. There is still baggage with the ex. and Ethan's afraid he's missing out on important teen years in his son's life. He sorta hints at the possibility of moving back to Chicago. This throws Julie for a loop - she's just gotten a new job offer that will be fantastic and she sure doesn't want to go to Chicago. Look around - they are in Greece, for goodness sake, eating fresh olives and drinking wine. Their life is fantastic and they have a place back in Paris. The little girls are so cute speaking English and French. Give that up for Chicago?

So, this film is reality. Ethan, always so youthful and on the pretty side for a male, now has frown lines (still great cheekbones). Julie, very charming French actress, looks age appropriate and maybe leans toward frumpy mother of twins. But that's okay - that's what has made this series so cool. It's not gussied up. It's raw and improvised and smart and angsty. It's the reality of a couple who've been together and are questioning their path. Has it diverged? Or can they make it work and satisfy all parties concerned?

Before Midnight - nothing blows up (well, maybe the chance of a marriage), no special effects (just the radiance of Greece scenery). Just great acting, writing, and directing. Watch the first two movies and then see what happens? Root for love before midnight.


  1. I haven't seen any of these movies, but it sounds like a terrific progression.