Thursday, June 27, 2013

98% Before Midnight

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (143) | Rotten (3)

Hawke and Delpy remain as charming as ever, and their combined goofiness is more endearing than annoying.

Love is messy here, life cannot be controlled, satisfaction is far from guaranteed. Romance is rocky at best. But romance still is.

Though "Before Midnight" is often uncomfortable to watch, it's never less than mesmerizing - and ultimately, a joy to walk with this prickly but fascinating couple again.

"Before Midnight" is heartbreaking, but not because of Jesse and Celine. It's the filmmakers' passions that seem to have cooled.

Before Midnight is fascinating to watch, and so long as Celine and Jesse are communicating, there's still hope.

How (Jesse and Celine) try to rekindle that flame is what drives Midnight, a film that feels so authentic it's like overhearing a conversation you're not sure you should be hearing.

Loving words mix with personal attacks, the magic moments with the unintended slights, as we witness the occasional desperation of imperfect people doing the best they can when life moves beyond meet-cute and courtship. That's authentic.

Linklater and his players bring an end to the fantasy and welcome the thrilling ups and bitter downs of reality to this love story.

Like the first two films, it reflects the real world in a way that seems almost preternatural. It's just that, here, the real world is a harsher, more disappointing place.

The duo, clearly so comfortable in their characters' skin, indulge in intelligent banter, sharp humour and emotional truths.

So much better written than contemporary novels, this film is a literary as well as cinematic achievement to cherish. For grown-ups.

As before, it's often very funny, with Jesse and Celine swapping Woody Allen-esque one-liners - nicely snarky, appealingly abrasive.

The acting, the dialogue and direction are superb.

None of the films is faultless in itself, but, tinted with complementary tones, the complete cycle comes as close to perfection as any trilogy in cinema history.

Marvelous. It's impossible to shake the feeling that we are merely eavesdropping on reality. Witty, wise, and -- most important of all -- truly romantic in ways that movies usually aren't.

It's been 18 years since Hawke, Delpy and Linklater introduced us to Jesse and Celine, and their story just gets richer, funnier and more punchy each time we see them. In 1995's Before Sunrise, they were idealistic 23-year-olds.

Hawke and Delpy are as believably real as any screen couple can ever be.

This is one of the few sequels for which the cliche 'eagerly awaited' is truly applicable.

Predictably, it's just as great as the first two.

By the end, Before Midnight inches towards a dawn of charm. But it's a troubled trip.

As an organic experiment in collaboration between actors and director, it is a triumph, co-created and co-owned by Delpy, Linklater and Hawke.

Hawke and Delpy, who are both credited on the script too, have never found co-stars to bounce off more nimbly or bring out richer nuances in their acting.

The performances and dialogue are wonderfully naturalistic; a reminder that the best special effects are often the cheapest.

Before Midnight is about the nature of long-term relationships, and the way love deepens and grows but also finds itself subject to the complications of maturity. Smart, insightful, and poignant.

For those who witnessed Jesse and Celine's tentative getting together as inter railing students almost twenty years ago, it's reassuring to see them still in love.

Brilliantly directed, superbly written and impeccably acted, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging drama that perfectly complements the previous two films.


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