Movie Reviews

‘Before Midnight’: Coming full circle

By Faz Abdul GaffaMovies - 25 July 2013 12:38 PM | Updated 1:29 PM

‘Before Midnight’: Coming full circle

Movie details | Photo gallery | Buy tickets

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Nine years. That’s how long fans of Richard Linklater’s occasional series about occasional lovers starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have been waiting for the follow-up to 2004’s Before Sunset’.

And for fans that have watched and fallen in love with Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) in the previous films – the first being ‘Before Sunrise’ – this movie is a must-watch.

The conversations between Jesse and Celine, what we love most about the films

Yes, there is a lot of talking between the two leads, as usual. But while their chats for the first two movies are woven with seduction, courtship and the question of whether they would get together or whether their relationship would work, this is not the case for the third.

Unlike the thrill of a first meeting, or a reunion after many years, the question now is whether they will stay together, taking the audience through a journey of what happens when passion between two people in love is overtaken by the realities of daily living.

The settings continue to play a crucial yet subtle role in Linklater's story


Like its predecessors, ‘Before Midnight’ takes place in a beautiful setting, on the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece, where Jesse and Celine are coming to the end of a long vacation.

On top of the hang-ups and baggage that comes with being in their 40s, the pair have other problems up their sleeves – a repetitive sex life, a child from a former marriage, work conundrums, a heavier butt – all of which are tabled for discussion one afternoon.

How they try to rekindle the flame, and perhaps fail at it, is what makes the movie so interesting. It’s like you’re eavesdropping on a 108-minute conversation to which you’re not sure you should be listening.

It's always leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling inside to see these two together again

For fans of Linklater’s series, ‘Before Midnight’ comes back after nine years like an old friend, albeit one that is grumpier, sharper and grown saltier with life. And if this is the last time he allows us to eavesdrop on these two, then ‘Before Midnight’ is a great way to say goodbye.

‘Before Midnight’ opens in cinemas 25 July 2013