Completing the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset trilogy is Richard Linklater’s BEFORE MIDNIGHT. Returning 18 years after Before Sunrise and nine since Before Sunset, we again meet up with Celine and Jesse. Now firmly ensconced as a couple, they have 7 year old twin daughters and are currently vacationing in Greece.
Jesse, now divorced from his first wife, is lamenting saying goodbye to his son, having put him on a plane to return him to his mother in Chicago. Always hard for Jesse as he has made a life in Paris with Celine and the twins, during a car ride from the airport back to their vacation villa, conversation quickly brings the audience up to speed with the past nine years and sets the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold - the difficulties of making relationships work even when there’s love at the core.
Again written by Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Richard Linklater, the former two who reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine, BEFORE MIDNIGHT is a perfect dance of dialogue and long single takes, delivering emotionally rich, raw, pure and honest performances and storytelling. Hawke and Delpy are synergistic, symbiotic, the yin and yang to the other. Brilliant writing. Brilliant performances. Not to be missed is the legendary Greek actress, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, who was so moved by the script as to come out of retirement to appear in the film. Also take note of Walter Lassally who makes his acting debut here at age 85. You may know Lassally best as the Oscar winning cinematographer of Zorba the Greek.
Shot on location, Greece is as much a character in the film as Jesse and Celine. Beautifully lensed by Christos Voudouris, the light, the location are celebratory and metaphoric with a timeless classic beauty serving as a testament to the battles of life and marriage and surviving with dignity and grace.
Directed by Richard Linklater
Written by Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy