before midnight bannerI loved Before Sunrise and Before Sunset so after reading all the rave reviews I was fairly certain  Before Midnight wouldn’t be any different but the combined forces of Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater have created something truly special with this third installment. Like the films before it, Midnight  is composed almost entirely of dialogue (a spectacular feat of writing in itself), it is at times hilarious, romantic and life-affirming but it’s also rooted in a reality that didn’t haunt the idealistic what-if premises of its predecessors. There are scenes in this film that are difficult and brutally honest but they only serve to add depth and shading to a character study that was already one of the richest in modern cinema. Being able to revisit these characters in three distinctly different phases of their lives and  relationship is an unusual creative luxury that wouldn’t be possible without the dedication talented trio that have brought them to life. Julie Delpy’s Celine is out of her mind but also brilliant and representative of many women with the same ambitions. It’s hard for me to imagine another actress volunteering for that role let alone pulling it off so well. Ethan Hawke doesn’t seem to have changed much since 1994 but that serves the character of Jesse perfectly. Richard Linklater is a talented director who is able to make magic out of the right material and aside from his landmark Dazed & Confused I can’t imagine a better fit for his particular style of directing than this very personal story that with the help of his lead actors has taken on a life of its own. I really hope this movie gets some awards recognition at the end of the year because it gets so much right. I know for me personally it will be near the top of my list and it probably doesn’t hurt that I got to see it with my wife at BAM Rose Cinema followed by a long walk through Brooklyn on a beautiful early summer night.

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