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Before Midnight: Attempted realism wonderful and tedious

 

 
Overview
 

Genre:
 
Starring: ,
 
Directed By:
 
Studio: , , , ,
 
MPAA Rating:
 
Release Date: June 14, 2013
 
Length: 109 minutes
 
Directing
7.0


 
Plot
5.0


 
Acting
8.0


 
Cinematography
6.0


 
Total Score
6.5
6.5/ 10


 

Whoa


Delpy and Hawke seem completely natural in their respective roles.

No


Stilted dialogue comes off like it was written for a play.


Bottom Line

Much like he did with its predecessors, 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset, writer-director Richard Linklater emphasizes dialogue over action in Before Midnight. This time around, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are vacationing in Greece. Jesse has just said goodbye to his son Hank, who’s flown back to the States where he […]

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Posted June 19, 2013 by

 
Full Review
 
 

Much like he did with its predecessors, 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset, writer-director Richard Linklater emphasizes dialogue over action in Before Midnight. This time around, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are vacationing in Greece. Jesse has just said goodbye to his son Hank, who’s flown back to the States where he lives with his mother, Jesse’s ex-wife.

On the drive back to the vacation home with their two kids, Jesse and Celine get in a bit of a spat as Jesse hints that he might want to move back to America to be closer to Hank. Their dispute isn’t entirely resolved when their two kids wake from a nap and begin questioning why they didn’t stop at a tourist attraction as planned. The conversation takes up the first 20 or so minutes of the film and makes for an awfully slow start.

Next up, Jesse and Celine engage members of their Grecian host family in a discussion about philosophical issues as Jesse and Celine recount — yet again — the time they first met and share their initial impressions of one another. The conversation is cordial and the couple seems to be getting along. But, once they are alone in a hotel to spend a romantic night sans children, all hell breaks loose.

This film is ostensibly an attempt to portray the evolution of a relationship between two real, and therefore flawed, individuals.  As much as Delpy and Hawke, both of whom contributed to the script, have terrific chemistry and seem completely natural in their respective roles, the “truth” of their situation still seems a bit contrived due in part to stilted dialogue that comes off like it was written for a play.


Jeff

 
Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.


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