Before Midnight [2013] ★★★½

before-midnight-posterWe first met Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in Vienna in “Before Sunrise”. To some, the movie was talky. To others (me included), it was unique and as far away as possible from the Hollywood formula. “Before Sunset” picked up 9 years later in Paris, where the two met again briefly before Jesse had to catch a plane home to his wife and son. They had promised to reunite in Vienna in six months and never did. But whatever the first two movies had to offer, “Before Midnight” does it even better. The couple have a history now yet they still talk as if they were still on that train in Vienna. Now in their early 40’s, they’re raising twin daughters (they finally ended up together) and spending a summer in beautiful Greece. So what happens there? Basically they just talk. And talk and talk and talk about art, poetry, sex, family, life, love, death, and dreams. But mostly, they talk about their relationship. “You remember that guy who loved you and you had that great romance with? It’s me” says Jesse at some point. It’s a revealing scene, hilarious and touching at the same time and the actors play it to perfection. Hawke, who has never been better, delivers an emotionally courageous performance that uncovers Jesse’s secret heart. And Delpy is a knockout. But mostly you can credit director Richard Linklater, who wrote the sharply observant script with the actors. Like the best movies, “Before Midnight” keeps playing in your head long after it ends. It’s one of the best movies of the year, or any year.

Rating: 3.5/4

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