Before Midnight


Third film finds Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy as a married couple Discuss this article

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Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reunite for a third film, after Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, in director Richard Linklater’s occasional series about Jesse and Celine. Only now, the pair’s love is not so on-and-off: the American writer and French environmentalist have been a couple since we last saw them in Paris almost a decade ago. Kids are involved (best keep the plot vague; part of the fun is the discovery) and they’re on holiday in Greece at the villa of a convivial elderly writer (played, intriguingly, by legendary cinematographer Walter Lassally).

While the talk of the previous films was propelled by the thrill of a first meeting or of a reunion after many years, what’s there to chat about so incessantly when you’ve been together for nine years, however happy or disgruntled you are? A more muted study in settled silence would have been interesting, but that’s not this film or these characters.

And that’s a problem: Jesse and Celine chat non-stop on a long car journey and while walking to a kids-free night in a hotel. It’s as if all the hang-ups and baggage of this time in their lives are tabled for discussion on one afternoon. As ever, the energy and sense of spontaneity is enlivening, but there’s a slight air of phoniness that doesn’t sit well with the in-the-now realism of Linklater’s project.

Before Midnight becomes more interesting in a final section in which Linklater throws some shade on his story. The day begins to feel less like just another and more like a threshold in their lives, so justifying the ramped-up emotions and endless jaw-jaw. Luckily, Hawke and Delpy remain as charming as ever, and their combined goofiness is endearing.

By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Doha,

Before Midnight

  • Duration: 109
  • Released: Thu, 26 Dec
  • Classification: TBA
  • Language: English
  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Stars: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Walter Lassally, Ariane Labed

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