Before Midnight ****

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Has it really been 18 years since we first met Celine and Jesse in “Before Sunrise”? I remember watching that movie for the first time as a teenager. It seemed so dream like to me. It was a nice movie about people who seemed to exist just outside of reality. Or maybe it was made to seem that way because as a teenager everyone sort of feels outside of the norm.

I was blindsided years later in 2004 when a sequel called “Before Sunset” came out and answered our lingering questions of whether or not they met each other again. It was a far more real and engaging movie that revisited these characters as they reunited and talked about their lives and how the events of the first movie has effected them.

Now comes “Before Midnight”, which essentially answers the question of whether or not they decided to get together and make a go of it. The answer is yes.

“Before Midnight” catches up with them 9 years later. They are now married with two children living in Europe. Jesse has a son from his previous marriage. As the film opens they are dropping his son off at the airport so that he can fly home to the states. The story sort of stays true to the format setup by the first two films, by following basically these characters exclusively as they talk about their lives over a period of a few hours.

I don’t really want to say too much and ruin the experience, esspecially if you are a fan of the series as I am. This one may be the most raw and real entry so far. Life has sort of taken it’s toll on Celine and Jesse. Their choices have started to catch up with them a bit.

As Celine and Jesse, Delpy and Hawke know these roles inside and out. Their skills are on dislpay here esspecially during some of the longer takes when they are required to remember a lot of dialgue while maintaining the emotion of the moment. It is truly remarkable.

I hope that Richard Linklater, the director, and his two leads continue to give us updates on this couple every nine years. It is nice to see a franchise evolve naturally and become something that truly reflects life as opposed to punishing us with sequels that are carbon copies of the original.

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