Before Midnight (2013)

before midnight poster 2003 movie julie delpy ethan hawke
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Strange movie series leads to interesting results

Ethan Hawke continues to struggle

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Before Midnight

Studio:  Castle Rock Entertainment

Genre(s):  Romance/Drama

Release Date(s):  January 20, 2013 (Sundance Film Festival)/May 24, 2013

MPAA Rating:  R


Our days and nights were a lot hotter in 1995 and 2004

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) have just celebrated the summer in Greece with their twin children and Jesse’s son Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick).  With Hank going back to his mother, Jesse questions if he can continue to be separated from his son.  With a dinner, a walk, and a night at the hotel, Jesse and Céline find their fairy tale relationship challenged…can it endure the night?

Written and directed by Richard Linklater (with writing help from Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke), Before Midnight is the third film in Linklater’s “Before” series following Before Sunrise in 1995 and Before Sunset in 2004.  The series continue to get strong reviews and this film received the most critical acclaim with an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the trilogy as The Before Trilogy (Criterion #856) with Before Midnight individually numbered as Criterion #859.


A toast to a happy night!

I didn’t check out Before Sunrise and Before Sunset until Before Midnight was released.  I am not an Ethan Hawke fan and the idea of him having a platform to just philosophize didn’t seem appealing.  As the series has continued however, the movies have become interesting character studies of the times.

The first film was a bit childish and they were young so that is appropriate.  The second film had a more adult approach but ended up in having the characters having a marriage ending affair.  The third film deals with the result of these actions and how a relationship is actually more challenging than the fantasy that the two characters lived in the first two films.  With this film, we get to see how the two argue and how their relationship functions (or fails to function).


Well…this is turning into a crapper of a night

The movies are interesting in that they are long term characters studies.  Unlike a normal film, you see a snippet of a life and how even in snippets, events of the past can affect the present.  People break-up and divorce happens and though in a movie it all ends, it doesn’t end as seen here…the making of each film with a gap of time gives the movies a bit more substance than a regular sequel.

Hawke still feels challenged in these movies.  I’ve never considered him a very good actor and he struggles with it.  Delpy however seems very natural and real as Céline.  Unlike the second movie which had no supporting cast, this film has a long (and interesting) dinner sequence which has a good group of actors in different phases of relationships which is used to compare to Céline and Jesse.  The actors all seem very real and natural which makes the movie feel somewhat voyeuristic.


Yeah…this is the cold shoulder, Jesse

The movie once again is aided by a great setting.  The first film featured Vienna and the second film featured Paris.  This movie has the Greek coast.  It is a bit unfortunate by the film’s structure that it ends up in a hotel room for much of the story, but you do get to see enough of the sites to still enjoy the beauty.

Before Midnight is a great addition to the series and I would still love to see this series continue in another ten years.  Much like the 7 Up documentary series, it is interesting to see how people change and grow over the years along with their priorities.  Hopefully, we’ll visit Jesse and Céline again.

Related Links:

Before Sunrise (1995)

Waking Life (2001)

Before Sunset (2004)

The 86th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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