The first in a double bill featuring two of the most highly acclaimed US features of the year, Before Midnight is Richard Linklater’s bittersweet study of a love affair languishing in middle-age - his follow up to generational touchstones Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.
Here again we meet Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy), the lovers from the earlier films. But nine years since their chance encounter in Paris the romance has gone a little flat. Life - and kids - and ex wives - will do that. Still, they are together, and in a beautiful setting, one of the Greek islands where they are guests of a famous novelist and very much among friends. In such a setting, surely the embers of their affection can still raise a spark or two?
"This wise and mature follow-up to Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) is a wonderful film whether or not you’ve seen the previous installments. […] Hawke and Delpy inhabit these people so deeply that the wordy dialogue seems as natural as something overheard from the next apartment.
The labor of pairing off is a classic theme for a movie, with a comforting finish when love triumphs. But finding romance is easy. Staying together is hard. Making a movie this warm, funny, and rigorously truthful about lovers trying to remain partners is even harder." Farran Smith Nehme, New York Post
“Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect." AO Scott, New York Times