Movie Review - 'Before Midnight' - Richard Linklater Spends More Quality Time With Jesse And Celine Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke return for the third in Richard Linklater's loosely peerless Before series, and they've never been more persuasive — nor has the storytelling. (Recommended)
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More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms

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More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms

Review

Movie Reviews

More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms

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JACKI LYDEN, HOST: Eighteen years ago, actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy teamed up with director Richard Linklater to make what's probably the talkiest movie romance ever. It was called "Before Sunrise," and it was just the two actors having a daylong conversation. Nine years later, the same team got together again to make "Before Sunset," also a one-day long conversation. Now, they've made a third film. This one's called "Before Midnight," and critic Bob Mondello says they still got plenty to say.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Celine and Jesse are sporting a few physical wrinkles as they work through some relationship wrinkles this time around - yes, relationship. They've got kids now, which means they're way past the meet-cute stage of the first two pictures, though they do occasionally relive it.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "BEFORE MIDNIGHT")

MONDELLO: The heady buzz of romance may have given way to the less-urgent throb of commitment, but Celine and Jesse have never stopped trying to puzzle out their relationship. Actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have again workshopped the dialogue to make their scripted conversation sound loose and improvised. And this time, director Richard Linklater has them wandering through an eye-popping family vacation in Greece, babbling away in long, uninterrupted takes for the camera.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "BEFORE MIDNIGHT")

MONDELLO: It's not surprising that their sparring would have a less wistful edge after years together, but even they don't expect the sharpness that creeps in when they check into a hotel for some away-from-the-kids, shake-out-the-cobwebs sex. The sun sinks below the horizon and somehow takes civility with it. And as the director exchanges Greek vistas for the tiny confines of a hotel suite, in the artificial light, you can see the creases that time has etched into the actors' faces, see how earned the pain seems in their eyes.

Delpy and Hawke have never been more persuasive than they are in "Before Midnight," nor has this surprisingly resonant series. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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